BOSTON, MA -- To commemorate the Eastern Hockey League's (EHL) 10-year anniversary, each month we will highlight an Alumni player who excelled in the league, and then used the EHL as a pathway to further hockey success.
For the month of September, we look back on Dylan Carabia, a 1996 birth year defenseman from Florida, who spent three seasons with the Express Hockey Club organization, before achieving his dream of playing NCAA hockey and then professional hockey.
His junior hockey experience began in the 2014-15 season, when he suited up for the Express squad in the Metropolitan Jr. Hockey League (a precursor to the EHL Premier). He followed that up with two outstanding seasons in the EHL, including being awarded the 2016-17 EHL Defenseman of the Year award.
“Playing in the EHL was critical for my development as a hockey player and as a person,” said Carabia. "Moving away from home at the age of 18 pushed me to be self-sufficient, both on and off the ice. My love and passion for the game grew every year while playing in the EHL."
Carabia’s next step took him to Salve Regina University, which is located in Newport, RI. As a freshmen, he and his Seahawk teammates earned the opportunity to play for the NCAA Division III National Championship, where they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to St. Norbert in the title game. Successful, winning seasons followed each year until 2020-21 when they did not compete due to the COVID19 pandemic.
However, that setback did not deter Carabia, as he fulfilled his lifelong dream of professional hockey soon thereafter.
“Navigating to the professional ranks is different for everyone and never easy," added Carabia. "You have to stay in the moment and not look ahead to what could be. My goal while playing in the EHL was to commit to a college. Once that came to fruition I was set on earning a college degree and continuing to development my game.”
In 2021-22 his development and maturation afforded Carabia the opportunity to play professional hockey in the SPHL with the Pensacola Ice Flyers, dressing for 55 games and registering 39 points from the blueline. He would follow that up with another step up the professional ladder in 2022-23, when he played 55 games for the Atlanta Gladiators in the ECHL, tallying nine points to his credit.
Now, entering his third year of professional hockey, Carabia provided these words of advice for prospective junior hockey players.
“My advice to young players in the EHL is to simply love the game," concluded Carabia. "Whatever you put into the game of hockey, you will get out of it. Get better everyday whether it’s on or off the ice, and always work hard, you never know who may be watching your practice or game. Lastly, it's important to be a good teammate, you never know what someone could be going through. The friendships you create in hockey can last a lifetime.”
The EHL takes great pride in players such as Dylan Carabia for helping them reach their goals and fulfilling our league motto -- With every player comes a different path and next step. Whether it's college hockey or climbing the junior ranks, the EHL and the EHLP provide all of our players with the resources to improve their game and keep climbing in their respective journeys.
Every story is different, and we're ready to help you write the next chapter in yours.
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