The 2011-2012 North American Hockey League’s regular season will go down as the most successful in Amarillo Hockey History to date. The Amarillo Bulls shattered several current records, while completing just their second season.
It is hard to believe but in the brief two year history of the franchise, the Bulls have won 82 regular season games and have collected three banners and one previous trip to the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament.
In 2011-12, the Bulls posted a record of 46-7-7 for 99 points, which led the league in both wins and total points. The 99 points is a new NAHL record based on a 60-game regular season schedule. The Bulls led the South Division wire-to-wire after day one of the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota back in mid-September to the close of the regular season on April 1st. In very short order, the Bulls were able to not only win the South Division regular season title but the NAHL overall regular season crown.
“I think when we are recruiting in the summer time we are trying to get a lot of depth," said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. "Yes, we want highly skilled guys, but over the course of a 60-70 game season, we have to be able to rotate anyone in and out of the line-up. Everyone buys into the system and pitches in and I think our teams depth is one of the main reasons we were able to be successful."
The 22-game unbeaten string of where the Bulls collected at least one point was the longest in the league this season. The Bulls had a 10, 9 and 7-game winning streaks through the course of play.
In terms of league numbers the Bulls were first in 13 different team categories and five individual ones. Some of those team categories included winning percentage, road wins, goals for, power play goals, shorthanded goals, goals for and shots for just to name a few.
In individual categories, John Rey led the entire NAHL in plus-minus at plus 64, while his teammate Brooks Behling was at plus 49. Rey was also first among defensemen with 51 points and first in assists with 46. Behling finished fifth in the NAHL in scoring and first in shorthanded goals with five. Various other members of the Amarillo Bulls were also among the top five in other categories.
Off the ice, the Bulls were busy in the community attending events whether it’s at schools, or non-profit organizations to help give back to the city they live in.
It has also been a terrific year for Amarillo Bulls’ players making their NCAA College Commitments. Ten players have already committed to play NCAA Division I or Division III hockey. “The team success says a lot to guys getting noticed by these NCAA schools," continued Williams. "The guys put their individual success to side and they play better because of it. I think it is also a testament to their character and hard work.”