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Rampage alum Rapalje making strides in final junior season with NAHL’s Bulls


The past two seasons, Carter Rapalje has played in the NAHL for the Bulls, last year in Amarillo and this season, in North Iowa.

Both seasons have seen the Colorado Rampage graduate grow his overall game with an eye on playing college hockey starting with the 2022-23 season.

“The Rampage organization has a good relationship with the Amarillo coaches, and they were able to set up an opportunity for me and a couple of my teammates to go down and practice with the team (in 2019-20),” said Rapalje. “The coaches told me they liked how I played and offered me a tender agreement for the next season (2020-21).”

After last season, the Bulls relocated to Mason City, Iowa.

“What appealed to me the most about the team was the atmosphere,” Rapalje said. “The team atmosphere on and off the ice is amazing. The fans are the best in both Amarillo and in Iowa. They make the games exciting for us to play.”

Earlier this week, the NAHL tabbed Rapalje the Central Division Star of the Week after scoring five goals and adding an assist in the Bulls’ weekend sweep over the Bismarck Bobcats on home ice.

For the season, Rapalje leads the team in goals with 11 and is fifth in points with 15 in 16 games.

“Carter has been working very hard to create chances for himself and his line mates and it was good to see him get rewarded for those efforts by finding the back of the net,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden.

And while the individual honors are nice, Rapalje would rather focus on the team as a whole.

“I think the first part of our season is going really well,” Rapalje said. “We are a young team and are starting to come together and use our strengths to win some games. Our coaches do a great job putting the right combination of players together to help us with that.”

Originally from Burlington, Vt., Rapalje started playing hockey when he was four years old.

“My father played college hockey and got me started,” he said. “I immediately loved the game. I came to Colorado with my family after playing several years in Florida and played four years for the Rampage. All the coaches and the owner really focus on developing players to get to the next level. Andrew Sherman, Pat Bingham, Luke Fulghum, Tyler Shipstad, Marc Boxer and Jon Eng have all been positive influences during my hockey career.”

Moving forward, Rapalje has attainable goals and aspirations.

“I am focused on this season with the Bulls, and our goal is to win the Robertson Cup,” said Rapalje said. “I am planning to go to college next year and, hopefully, I get the opportunity to play hockey.”

Photo/Alissha Ames/North Iowa Bulls

— Matt Mackinder

(November 9, 2021)

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