By Jailene Bernal//Coralville, Iowa– While all hockey players’ journeys have various twists and turns, a shared bond between each player’s path is the travel it takes to make it to the professional ranks. Heartlanders defenseman and Ohio native Justin Wells has traversed the country and skated for teams in Sioux Falls, SD, Bowling Green, OH, and Boston, MA since entering the junior hockey level more than a decade ago.
After completing his fifth collegiate season at Boston College, he knew he wanted to return to the Midwest.
“I'm not a huge, big-city guy,” Wells said. “You kind of get a good mix in a college town. Kind of that excitement and buzz without the big city stuff.”
Born in Cincinnati during his father Jeff’s pro career, he grew up a few hours north in North Canton, OH after his father's retirement. Justin and his brother, Andrew, grew up playing hockey in Cleveland.
After two years in the USHL, he moved on to Bowling Green University, his father’s alma mater.
“It was always kind of the dream school,” Wells said. “It was only two hours and fifteen minutes away from my hometown. My parents used to always bring me there for games. My mom went there too, that's where she met my dad. Growing up it was ingrained in me that I do want to go here. Then when I started talking to colleges it was always in the back of my head that it was the perfect size for me. The hockey was great there. It was a place I always wanted to go. I had great teammates, great classmates. I loved my time at Bowling Green.”
After the pandemic interrupted his senior season, Wells took advantage of the fifth year of eligibility granted to him and earned his Master’s Degree at Boston College.
“It opened up a unique opportunity for that fifth year for guys,” Wells said. “It was a unique experience to learn more about myself and grow as a human being living in the Boston area. I looked it up once and there were 12 Dunkins in a ten-mile radius by my house because everyone loves their Dunkin. That was different.”
Wells signed his first professional contract with the Iowa Heartlanders after his time at Boston College ended.
“It's nice to be back this season again. The rink’s nice, the fans are great. When you're going on the ice and during warm-ups when the fans are in the building you feel it and get that excitement.”
Upcoming Home Games
The Heartlanders take on Kalamazoo on Wed., Feb. 7 at 6:35 p.m. at Xtream Arena.
Iowa hosts Country Night, presented by KISS Country, on Fri., Feb. 9 at 6:35 p.m. vs. Cincinnati. The game features $6 domestic drafts and $3.50 fountain drinks.
On Sat., Feb. 10 at 6:05 p.m. vs. Cincinnati, Iowa is home again for Cancer Awareness Night pres. by iHeartMedia. Join us as we recognize the fight against all forms of cancer and honor those that have battled and are currently fighting cancer.
Join the fun at Xtream Arena in the 2023-24 season
Here are some of the best options to make sure you experience the family-friendly entertainment of Heartlanders Hockey at Xtream Arena this season!
Flex Plans: Enjoy the service, savings and game dates that work best for you! Flex plans include “any game” ticket vouchers that are good for any home game during the 2023-24 regular season.
18-game plans: With more than half the home season remaining, join us with an 18-game ticket plan, including the many perks, savings and advantages of being a half-season member.
12-game plans: Grab tickets to your favorite 12 games! 12-game plans include savings on individually-priced tickets!
Group Tickets: Make a big impact with your group and spend an evening with the Heartlanders. Starting at a special rate of $15/Ticket. A group comprises 10 or more people and is perfect for parties, families, co-workers, clients and more.