Throughout the month of August, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment covers Bobcats rookie forward Evan Giesler.
Name: Evan Giesler
Hometown: Naperville, IL
2011-12 Team: Chicago Fury
2011-12 Stats: 40 GP, 17 G, 13 A, 30 PTS, 2 PIM
Favorite Pro Sports Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite Book: The Outsiders be S.E. Hinton
Highlight of 2011-12: “Beating our rivals, Team Illinois, to win the state championship; it was the first time a midget major team for the Fury had won state.”
It is no secret that the Chicagoland area in northeast Illinois has been a huge asset for Bobcat Hockey—having produced all-time leading scorer Garrett Roth and numerous other big-name Bobcats such as John Avino, Dan Weissenhofer and Matt Gates—so when the Bobcats hired Roth as their assistant coach in May of 2012, one of the biggest factors was his ability to recruit Chicago players.
One of the first such players from the Windy City that Roth was able to procure was Evan Giesler of the AAA Chicago Fury.
“Right after Coach Roth signed on with Bismarck, he called me and invited me to the Bobcats’ pre-draft camp [in Prior Lake, Minn.],” explained Giesler, a 6’1” forward born in February of 1994. “He’d seen me play with the Fury and he thought that I would be a good fit for the upcoming season.”
Giesler did not disappoint in Prior Lake, using his size and skill to impress the Bobcats’ staff.
Roth and head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie were so impressed with the 18 year old that two and a half weeks later they scooped him up with a third round pick—69th overall—in the NAHL Entry Draft.
“Evan’s really big for a ’94 and his finishing ability is great,” remarked Roth on the player selected with the pick acquired in the Bobcats’ September trade with Alexandria that also netted Adam Knochenmus. “A player with his size and skill at age 18 has a bright future in this league and beyond.”
Following along with the NAHL’s feed on Draft Day, Giesler and his family were thrilled to see his name come across the screen.
“When the Bobcats picked me, my dad jumped up and gave a big cheer,” recalled Giesler, “and I gave my mom a big hug and shook my dad’s hand. It was really exciting that an NAHL team had the faith in me to put me on their [protected list] like that.”
Windy City Way
While Minnesota bills itself as “The State of Hockey” and Detroit is commonly called “Hockeytown,” from top to bottom it’s tough to top Chicago’s claim as an American center for hockey: in 2011-12 Chicagoland boasted teams at every level of junior and professional hockey.
Hailing from the western suburb of Naperville, growing up around and playing in Chicago’s booming hockey culture is a source of pride for Giesler.
“It’s definitely pretty special to be a part of,” offered Giesler. “You look around and every year you see three or four guys from our area getting drafted into the NHL. Everyone who plays here has a lot of pride about being from Chicago.”
Despite the fact that Chicago is the third-largest metropolitan area in the country and how much hype players coming from the area often receive, it is a tight-knit hockey community.
“You’d think there would be a lot of teams and a lot of guys just spread out and nobody knows anybody but that’s not how it is,” insisted Giesler. “There are actually only four AAA teams in Chicago and it’s pretty tight. If you don’t know a guy personally you know of him and you follow him and know how he’s doing.”
That sense of community doesn’t dull intracity rivalries, though.
“When we won the state championship, we beat Team Illinois to get it. They were supposed to be really good, but we beat them three games in a row and that was pretty sweet,” bragged Giesler.
When it comes to playing forward, Evan Giesler has a very basic philosophy.
“I just want to go out there and keep it simple,” the big Chicagoan revealed.
Giesler’s modest aim delivered for him at the Bobcats’ Main Camp in late July: the third-round pick scored in droves, piling up five goals in four games—more than anybody except Bobcats’ top returning scorer Knochenmus—during the three-day tryout.
“When you’re evaluating a Main Camp, you watch for guys who know how to take advantage of that stage and grab your attention,” explained Sedevie, “and Evan did exactly that. He impressed us with scoring and toughness and was an easy pick for the training camp roster.”
Describing himself as a power forward, Giesler said he just wanted to play within himself at Main Camp.
“I’m not going to try and dangle around the whole team or anything; I just want to play simple and smart. I got lucky enough to be put with some good linemates and buried most of my chances.
“I was really happy with how I played at Main Camp and want to keep it going heading into the season.”
Stay tuned to BismarckBobcats.com over the next month as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2012-13 season. We will wrap up this week with Levi Blom.