Colorado Rubber

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NCAA Division I Long Island next hockey destination for Highlands Ranch native, LHA, Team Colorado grad Latka


Evelyn Latka grew up playing for the Littleton Hockey Association and Team Colorado, eventually moving on to boarding school at the Culver Academies in Culver, Ind.

Starting with the fall of 2025, the Highlands Ranch native will suit up for NCAA Division I Long Island University, a school based in New York.

“The opportunity for me to commit to LIU arose after attending a few summer camps and showcases,” said Latka, a junior this season at Culver playing on the 19U Prep team. “The first and most important of which was the Crimson Clinic hosted by Harvard. LIU assistant coach Shelly Picard was one of the coaches running the camp after head coach Katie Stone from Harvard resigned. I had a great experience at the camp as well as getting to work with Coach Picard. After the camp, I was in constant contact with both LIU head coach Kelly Nash and Picard. I had an official visit in Oct. 2023 and shortly after that (Nov. 14) an all-expenses-paid scholarship offer was made to me.”

Latka said there is a lot to be enamored with at LIU.

“What appealed to me about LIU’s hockey was its community,” Latka said. “The team was very welcoming and easy to talk with. They all took their development seriously and supported one another. I also enjoyed the coaching staff, they were fun yet focused, leading me to believe that this was an environment I could thrive in. LIU is building a new program and is at the top of their conference. Last season, they won the NEWHA conference championship and lately have been on a winning streak. I’m pretty confident that I will get to play as a freshman and will have the opportunity to help the team to future success.

“As far as academics, the school is relatively small, which is what I wanted after being at Culver Academies for four years. This will allow me to focus on my academics and get a bachelor’s degree in the health sciences before I apply to medical school. I am as competitive in the classroom as I am on the ice. I strive for nothing less than As and take AP courses when I can. My favorite classes tend to be the ones I find difficult but still succeed in.”

Looking back, Latka said hockey became a passion early in her life.

“Growing up, I had always watched the Avs play hockey, but my primary reason for becoming a hockey player was my family,” said Latka. “I was always in the rink while my brother was playing, and my dad coached and used to play and my mom enjoyed watching, making my future of playing hockey inevitable. I started when I was four playing 8U with the Littleton Hawks. I played boys hockey until I was 13, finally making the switch to girls hockey after my last season on the LHA Bantam AA team. We decided that it was time to switch to prevent any injuries and to get exposure to college coaches that was not offered in boys hockey.”

During her time playing youth hockey in Colorado, Latka said she had several coaches that helped her recognize the talent she had could take her places.

“I played boys hockey at LHA from 8U through minor 14U AA,” explained Latka. “During my time at LHA, I also played two years with Team Colorado as a 12-year-old on the 14U AAA tournament team and the 16U AAA team. In my second year of 14U, I switched to girls hockey and spent one year with Team Colorado’s 14U AAA team before I left Colorado to go to boarding school. I have had so many great coaches in my hockey career but the coaches in Colorado that had the most positive impact on me were Cole Fletcher, currently with LHA, and Karen Rickard, currently with Team Colorado. As far as other coaches not in Colorado, my current head coach, Cory Whitaker, has had the most impact on my hockey career.”

Moving forward, Latka has her sights set on making a difference, both on and off the ice.

“My short-term goal for hockey right now is to continue to perform at a high level but also grow some areas of my game that if fine tuned could greatly increase my performance, such as shot accuracy and skating form,” Latka said. “A long-term goal for me regarding hockey is to help grow the LIU program while also winning a conference championship. For my short-term goal academically, I would like to continue to get good grades but also take some more AP classes to get some college credits. Academically, my long-term goal is to graduate and further my education in medicine to become a neurosurgeon.”

Photo/Camilo Morales Cabrera @picsbymrmo

— Matt Mackinder

(December 19, 2023)

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