GAME DAY CENTRAL: January 19 at Fayetteville - 6:00 PM
Date: Jan 19, 2019
Huntsville's Stuart Stefan, left, accepts the SPHL championship trophy from league president Jim Combs alongside Havoc honorary captain Jacob Brown. (photo credit: Doug Sievers/Peoria Rivermen)
HUNTSVILLE – After seven years on the ice and 379 regular-season games with the Havoc, SPHL all-star defenseman Stuart Stefan has announced the end of his playing days.
However, Stefan's career with Huntsville is far from over. The team has hired the all-time leader in games played for the Havoc to be the new assistant coach of the President's Cup champions, taking over for Jesse Kallechy – recently named the new head coach of the Fayetteville Marksmen.
"For as long as I can remember, I have played hockey every winter and truly love the game," said Stefan. "Coaching was always something I wanted to do after my playing days, so when this opportunity came along, I could not turn it down. This is the best organization out there and to be able to continue to work with them made this decision so much easier."
Stefan, 32, started his professional hockey career with the Havoc in the fall of 2011, the same season Havoc Head Coach Glenn Detulleo played his last games in a Huntsville jersey and made his own transition to coaching.
"I’m excited to help Stu begin his coaching journey," said Detulleo. "He has been a tremendous player and leader on the ice here. His competitiveness, passion, and work ethic were always second to none and I am confident he will bring those attributes to his new position."
The Delhi, Ontario, native finishes his professional career with 407 games, nearly all in the SPHL. Stefan played 28 games with the Perth Thunder in the Australian Ice Hockey League in the summer of 2014. His 379 games for the Havoc is fifth all-time in the SPHL.
He was named to the SPHL first or second all-star teams five times and Defenseman of the Year in 2014. Stefan led the Havoc to six playoff appearances, culminating in the league championship this past season. He scored 86 goals and notched 164 assists with the Havoc during the regular season.
"I want to come in as a coach and try to help my players learn and develop on and off the ice as much as possible," said Stefan. "I want to share the experiences and knowledge I have gained to hopefully make them better players. With some of the guys returning from last season, I will obviously know some of their strengths and weaknesses, so my goal will be to help them refine their strengths and put them into situations where they can succeed."
Stefan's first order of business will be to help assemble a team to defend the SPHL Championship. The process begins with the Havoc Free Agent Camp on August 3-5 at the Huntsville IcePlex.