North Iowa defenseman Petronack makes NCAA commitment
January 15, 2020
The North Iowa Bulls, proud members of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), are excited to announce that defenseman Joey Petronack has committed to continue his academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-Stout following this season. Wisconsin-Stout is an NCAA Division III institution, and a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).
Petronack becomes the fourth North Iowa Bulls player to announce a college commitment in the span of a week, and the team's fourth commitment to the same college this season. Forwards Nick Bowlin and Matt Dahlseide both announced their commitments to UW-Stout within the past seven days, and Jordan Roo chose Wisconsin-Stevens Point as his college destination last week. Cam Fagerlee made UW-Stout his college choice in December.
"He skates well and sees the ice well," said Wisconsin-Stout head coach Terry Watkins. "I like him on the power play, and he has a gear that he doesn't use much - when he needs to do something, he can get up and go."
Petronack starred at Hill-Murray High School in Minnesota, captaining the team in his senior season in 2017-18. After taking the Pioneers to back-to-back state tournaments and a brief stint in Manitoba to begin his junior career, the White Bear Lake, Minnesota native found a steady home with head coach Todd Sanden's Bulls. Petronack racked up 28 points in 38 games last season before adding seven more in a postseason run to the Fraser Cup semifinals. That run got the attention of the North American Hockey League's Maryland Black Bears, who signed him to an NAHL tender this past April.
After a half-season away, Petronack rejoined the North Iowa blue line shortly after Thanksgiving and picked up right where he left off, posting a goal and an assist in his return on December 6 against Alexandria. He has been more than a point-per-game contributor since returning to the Bulls, notching three points and eight helpers over 10 games this season.
"This one kind of snuck up on us. He hasn't been back with us all that long," said Sanden. "We've always known he's a good player, and he's a player who needs to work and develop the defensive side of his game. He's been pretty dynamic offensively - he sees that side of the puck very well. That's something that attracts college programs as well, because everybody's looking for secondary scoring."
His commitment brings the count to 16 North Iowa players who have made a commitment to Watkins's program since the end of the Bulls' inaugural season in 2011-12. Petronack and his teammates will join former Bull Peter Verstegen, who is in his freshman year with the Blue Devils. UW-Stout goaltender Brady Meyers also played for North Iowa before making his commitment while with the Alexandria Blizzard.
More than 140 North Iowa players have landed in college hockey over the last nine years, including more than 70 who have made their college commitments while with the Bulls. That number includes eight North Iowa alumni who eventually reached the NCAA Division I level, including three who are currently playing for Division I teams.