Photo Credit:AIC Athletics
For Jake Stella, a junior forward at AIC who is having the best year of his college career so far, hockey was always a part of his his life growing up in Sweden.
“I started at a young age, it was always soccer and hockey for me.” He went with hockey at the age of 15 and didn’t look back. Stella has gone on this year to have a career year passing his totals in goals , assists, and points with half a season left to play.
He came to AIC because “I just think it was the right fit for me as a player and a person. It’s been a great experience for me and I’m glad I choose AIC.”
Before that, Stella came over to play junior hockey, working his way up from the South Shore Kings of the NCDC before playing for the Corpus Christi Icerays in the NAHL.
“I didn’t really think about taking the college path until my senior year in high school.” He started exploring his options during his senior year in high school. South Shore’s NCDC team is where he went first. “I’m glad I took that chance.”
While with the Kings, he took some time to adjust to the North American game. He said “It definitely took me some time ( to adjust to the North American sheet of ice) but once I settled in I felt comfortable.”
He talked to former assistant coach Mike Towns at the Top Prospects game ans that sealed the deal. That was the first time he talked with any one from AIC
On playing with freshman Evan Stella, his brother, “ it’s a very cool experience. For me personally I look forward to seeing him develop as a player and a person.”
He let Evan know about his AIC experience without pushing him to come.”I just tried to share my experience with him.”
Stella wants to stay around the game of hockey long after his time as a player for as long as possible. Hockey is his life, and he wants to be involved with the game for as long as it will have him.
On Head Coach Eric Lang “He’s one of the best coaches I’ve had in my career so far, it’s very easy to play for him.” He praised how Lang has built the culture and the team over time. “There’s a lot of things you could say about him.. just the culture he brings into the locker room… it’s very special.”
On Lang’ and his staff staff, Stella credits them for “having the trust and belief they put in me.”
On his career year he is having on the ice “it’s been a fun year so far.. the offense hasn’t shown in previous years but I always know that I’m capable of it. I just try to take advantage of every chance I’ve got. It’s been a fun year so far. Obviously I couldn’t have done it without my l, Chris Theodore and Justin Young.”