NORFOLK, Va. – Darik Angeli is a skilled and gifted forward. He plays a solid offensive game and is responsible in his end and two hat tricks this season doesn’t hurt. His stats this year with Norfolk back up his offensive skills. 44 points in 57 games. Before coming to Norfolk, the Ohio State alumnus stopped in multiple ECHL cities including Manchester, Colorado Tulsa, Orlando, and Rapid City.
Angeli, who is from the Denver suburb of Lakewood, credits the Colorado Avalanche for sparking his interest in hockey from a young age.
“When I was five-years-old the Avalanche came to town from Quebec. When they came there was a lot of buzz around the town. I told my Dad I wanted to try (hockey). He took me to a 6 am skate thinking I would hate it, because it would be too cold. I came off saying that I loved it and never put it down,” Angeli said.
Angeli is an all-around athlete who played baseball, soccer, football, and hockey in high school. His senior year he had to put all other sports aside and focus on hockey.
“Hockey was always the number one and I always had a lot more passion in it,” Darik said. “But my dad said I was better at baseball. I just had a passion for hockey since I was five-years-old. My senior year we had a good send off. We made it to the final four in baseball in the State so that was a good time to put it down.”
His passion for hockey led him to commit to Ohio State. The 27-year-old admitted he had other offers from Hockey East schools, but the chance to play at Ohio State sidelined all other offers.
As he said, “Ohio State is hard to pass up, they expect excellence. I was going in with 13 other freshmen so I had the chance to play right away. You don’t see that a lot with freshmen. It was the best experience of my life.”
Following 90 points over 128 college games and earning a degree in Strategic Communications, Angeli attended Florida Panthers rookie camp and main training camp after his career in Columbus ended. After playing some exhibition games for the Panthers, he was loaned to AHL Portland to start the 2015-16 season and played in one game, but spent the majority of his rookie season with the Manchester Monarchs. In 50 games with the Monarchs, Angeli put up 16 points (6G, 10A).
Angeli talked about his introduction to pro hockey, “I had no idea what pro hockey was all about, how it works. It was a good first year. I got called up a couple times. I learned a lot last year too, on how it’s a business. I’m glad to be where I am now.“
No other team in the ECHL has a coach like, Robbie Ftorek, Angeli noted the coaching is what makes this team so different than the others he’s played on as a pro.
“Robbie Ftorek and Peter Sidorkiewicz are great coaches. They’ve been through it all,” Angeli said. “It’s hard to come by two guys that played in the NHL and coached in the NHL. Plus it’s a great chance to learn from them, even though it’s ups and downs right now, I think we’re going in the right direction.”
Admirals video Coordinator/ Video Coach, D.J. Williamson noted what Angeli brings on a nightly basis, “He has a respectable all-around game offensively and defensively. He’s also solid on the power play and can kill penalties.” The first-year video coach also went on to say, “he has a very quick first stride and an excellent release to his shot. He sees the ice well and he makes good decisions with the puck.”
Angeli has quickly become a key component of the Admirals, who are still hoping to make the playoffs. For that to happen, they will need Angeli’s offense could help, some other key contributions to help and luck to help them move up the standings.