Former captain of the Barrie Colts and captain of the Orlando Solar Bears in 2014-15, Stefan Della Rovere takes his leadership skills and hardnosed style of play to Italy for 2015-16. It looks like Della Rovere has signed with Valpellice in Italy’s Lega Italiana Hockey su Ghiaccio, according to a YouTube video by the team introducing its new roster (see video here).
Stefan Della Rovere
Della Rovere played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2006-07 to 2009-10, all with the Barrie Colts. Stefan was a first round pick by the Colts at the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, 16th overall. He was captain of the team for his final two seasons.
In 2009-10, Stefan helped Barrie to an amazing regular season that saw the team win 57 of 68 games and total 116 points. That was good enough for first overall in the OHL and the Hamilton Spectator Trophy. In the playoffs, the Colts lost just one game on their journey to the finals. However, once there they were swept by the powerful Windsor Spitfires.
Della Rovere twice played for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. At Ottawa in 2009, the team won gold with a 5-1 win over Sweden in the final. The following year, the United States relegated Canada to silver, winning 6-5 in overtime in the final game.
The Washington Capitals took Stefan in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, 204th overall. His first pro action came in the form of two ECHL games with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2008-09 after the Colts were eliminated in the first round by the Mississauga Majors.
Since 2010-11, Della Rovere has played in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. His National Hockey League experience is limited to seven games with the St. Louis Blues in 2010-11.
In 2014-15, Stefan played 59 regular season games for the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL. Serving as team captain, Della Rovere scored 12 and assisted on 14 for 26 points. In the Kelly Cup playoffs, he played six more with the Solar Bears losing in six to the Florida Everblades in the opening round. Stefan played in the 2014-15 ECHL All-Star Game.
A few years ago, there were numerous OHL grads playing in the LIHG. Why not? The league is based in a relatively small area of the Italian Alps. The numbers dropped for 2014-15 but it seems there are a number of former OHLers finding their way to Italy for 2015-16.
Valpellice was last promoted to the Serie A for the 2009-10 season. The team reached the finals in 2012-13 but fell in the quarter-finals in 2014-15. The Bulldogs play home games at the Plaghiaccio Olimpico Di Torre Pellice in Torre Pellice, Italy, a 2,500 seat venue that opened in 2005.
Pat Curcio, a name known around the OHL, takes over as head coach of Valpellice for 2015-16 after being bench boss of rival Milano Rossoblu in 2014-15. Milano has dropped to the Serie B for the upcoming season. Curcio played 20 regular season and eight playoff games for the Ottawa 67’s in 1991-92. He was assistant coach with the London Knights in 2007-08 and 2008-09. In 2010-11, he was assistant coach with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
As for the LIHG, the Serie A is down to eight teams for 2015-16 from 12 the previous season. The country has been restructuring their hockey program over the past two years and introduces a much larger Serie B this season with 16 teams.