Getting to know: Dillon Eichstadt
On Wednesday it was announced that 25-year-old American defenceman Dillon Eichstadt will join the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze for his first professional season over 2019/20, but why the UK and Coventry?
“I always thought Europe would be a great place to continue my hockey career if the right opportunity presented itself,” said Eichstadt. “In the process of discussions with my agent, I got a call from coach (Danny) Stewart. During our conversation, I really liked what he had to say. I felt that the Blaze was a place where there would be a great chance at team and personal success, and I would have the opportunities to grow as a person and player.”
Eichstadt, standing at 6-foot, recorded 32 points (6 goals and 26 assists) in 134 career NCAA collegiate games from 2015-19. The former Bemidji Lumberjack notched career highs in points (14), goals (3) and assists (11) as a senior and Captain last season. Most notably, scoring the game-winning goal in an overtime win against Michigan Tech on the outdoor Hockey Day Minnesota rink beside Lake Bemidji in January.
The teams braved temperatures that dropped to as low as minus 23 degrees in what will likely go down as one of the coldest games in NCAA Division I hockey history.
“That sure played a factor,” Eichstadt said of the cold, “but if you were having a regular shift, I think it was probably easier. If you were going minutes without getting out there, I think it’d probably be harder just because of the cold factor. I found the toes were probably the biggest problem area. A lot of guys were complaining about that.”
Eichstadt, who grew up close to the wonderful setting along Lake Bemidji, said of his historic game-winner:
“When I was little, I would always play at Nymore outdoor (rink). I’d get dropped off and spend the day there. That rink is probably less than a mile from the outdoor (rink). So, for me the Hockey Day Minnesota is something I will look back on for the rest of my lifetime and smile. Not only because of the outcome, but because of how much it meant to my hometown and the hockey community in general. At its core, Bemidji is a hockey community, so to be the guy that was able to score a memorable goal like that is a tremendous honor. I am humbled by the moment, and thankful to all the volunteers that worked endless hours to make it such a special event.”
So, what can Blaze fans expect from their latest recruit?
“Well, that’s ever an easy question, but I feel like an accurate description of my skill-set would be a mobile, first-pass defenseman. I take pride in being good in my own end, as well as love anytime there is an opportunity to chip in offensively.”
Eichstadt will fly to the UK in August and join up with his new teammates for pre-season and an Elite League season set to begin in September, but what are his plans before that?
“As far as summer plans go, I am going to do what i always do, and that is work extremely hard to better myself as a player. I also have a business internship planned for the first half of the summer that I think will be an awesome experience. Along with those things, spending time outside and on the lake with family and friends is always something I look forward to.”
We thank Dillon for his time and look forward to seeing him on the ice in August.
Own and Loan a Eichstadt Jersey
You can now Own and Loan a Dillon Eichstadt jersey for the 2019/20 season by calling the Blaze office on 02477 719919 (Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm).
Own and Loan a blue (home) or white (away) regular season jersey - £250.
Own and Loan a special edition Challenge Cup jersey - £150.