Wednesday, 12.07.2016 / 10:11 am CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Troy Young
Wildcats Alternate Captain Aleksi Poikola has committed to play Division I NCAA Hockey at Michigan Technological University of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He will begin his college hockey career at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
“They were very interested in me. I could tell they genuinely wanted me,” said Poikola. “They’ve got a great program up there; it’s a really good hockey school. The Wildcats have helped me with so many things on and off the ice. There is no way I could have done this without them.”
Poikola (20) became the third Wildcat from the 2016-2017 roster to commit to play college hockey and the second to commit to Michigan Tech within 24 hours. When asked if it was a coincidence that he and Seamus Donohue committed to the Huskies just hours apart from each other, Poikola said “[I]t was just a coincidence. They were looking for his kind of defenseman, and they were looking for my kind of forward. It really worked out for everyone involved.”
The 5’11,” 180 pound center currently leads the Wildcats in scoring this season with 8 goals, 16 assists, 24 points and a +9 rating through 24 games played this season. In his freshman campaign with the Wildcats (2015-16), Poikola was in more of a secondary scoring role as he adjusted to playing hockey in North America. This season, however, the Finn has taken the team under his wing and has been an exemplary player in all three zones.
“It’s been very fun watching Aleksi’s high-end talent convert to the North American style,” Wildcats Head Coach Josh Nelson commented. “He’s such a skilled player, I truly believe the sky is the limit for him at Michigan Tech and beyond.”
Poikola has distinguished himself as a two-dimensional playmaker with exceptional vision. Not only is he known for seeing plays before they happen, he also possesses the skill to execute them. Mentally, he is often a step or two ahead of the pack and can make plays others would not even think about. Physically, he’s almost always the last one off the ice during practices and is arguably the best-conditioned player on the team. Poikola is the complete package, and he is the type of player who will only get better with the more talent that surrounds him.