Photo Credit-Summer Dutton AIC Athletics
Austen Long is a Minneapolis, Minnesota Native who plays the game with energy and pace. The AIC forward talked about playing for Spring Lake Park High saying, “it helped me grow up a little bit.” The grind of playing for Spring Lake Park combined with his time in AAA hockey with the Lancers helped get him ready for the USHL and the college game.
As for AIC, the energetic forward said that “i knew nothing about AIC.” The first time he saw AIC was in a training room in Green Bay as his team was preparing to face the Gamblers. His first experience seeing AIC was watching their NCAA Tournament win over St. Cloud State.
Of what he heard about AIC Long said, “ I heard that they had a great culture and I thought that was something that would be a great opportunity for me.” Next Long added that, “I was in Omaha taking classes and looking for a school.” One of the assistants with the Lancers set up Long and AIC, and it went from there. The process was “really quick.”
The process went quickly because, as AIC Head Coach Eric Lang said it went “similar to ( the recruiting process for ) Eric Otto in a lot of regards we recruited Longer because of what we were hearing about him as a person and teammate. He has won at every level. He is exactly the player we want here at AIC.”
Before a game against Niagara Long got a letter on his jersey. He was shocked but took it in stride saying, “ I was surprised, I didn’t know until our equipment manager said something. Just because I have an A doesn’t mean I’m more than anybody else.” Lang added more, saying “ We didn’t even discuss. He showed up and a letter was on his chest. I wish we could take credit for it. Justin Cole grabbed me a few weeks ago and very emotionally said Longer needs a letter. I just said ok. Great idea. J Cole gets the assist on that one.”
Long compared the style of game he plays to Andrew Shaw’s. Lang said of Long’s on-ice skills that “We have learned he’s actually a player we can play anywhere in our line up. He’s an elite skater and has NHL type quickness to pucks.”
Finally, Long has also seen a rise in games played each year, and said of the coaching staff doing that “ its nice that they trust me.”
Lang talked about that trust saying “ He makes us better because he’s a player that will never ask for anything and is grateful for everything afforded to him at AIC. I’ve never heard a complaint he’s just a big dose of Vitamin C for our hockey club.”
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