Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Evan Stella did not know much about college hockey, and took a chance to come play in North America. He took the road less traveled, went to a team with a coach that typically likes to let freshmen defenders develop a bit more before playing, and has turned into one of the most consistent, and physical defenders in Atlantic Hockey. Oh and he gets to play with his brother Jake as well. Dubuque offered him a spot to come from Sweden in November he took a chance to play junior hockey in North America and he didn’t look back.
On coming to AIC, he mentioned the culture, what his brother Jake told him about the school, and Stella added that he “would rather go to a smaller school and get ice time than go to a bigger school and not get ice time the first two years.”
Eric Lang has already said that Stella is a consistent defender and perhaps one of the most on his team. On that consistency Stella said, “to already have those words as a Freshman means a lot.”
On the coaching staff; he likes how they work and said “ they love every player and treat them like family, they’re always open to talk to about anything, they’re always there if you need them.”
On his playing style Evan was blunt, he said “ I just like to defend, to not let people score or win.” Stella is a sound defender that boxes out well. On the chance to play Stella said “it actually means a lot. When I came in they said I’m going to get the chance, it means a lot as a freshman.”
On something he thought people don’t know about his head coach Eric Lang, Stella added “ if you don’t know him and see him on the bench screaming you probably think he’s not very nice , he’s very nice, very open and he talks to everyone.”
On playing with Jake “ it’s just comfortable I think to have your brother here. We haven’t played that much together… it’s not a big difference because of position group.” .
On the academic support he has at AIC, Evan added , “When I needed tutors they were there , plus you have the library where you can study, they have the help you need you just have to know yourself to go and get the help you need.”
Consistency and work every day are what Evan brings the team, he took a chance to come and take the junior hockey route to develop and play here. It has paid off with getting spend his rookie season playing with his brother, earning the trust of Eric Lang and the coaches, and establishing himself as a future leader of AIC hockey. As this program bids adieu to its veterans with multiple Atlantic Hockey Championships, Stella and his class are in a position to lead the next wave of Yellow Jackets playing hockey as elite humans, and adding more banners and rings to a program that has gained a lot of them recently.
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