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Jake Durflinger Stays True to Himself as He Leads By Example.

Wednesday, February 28th
Jake Durflinger Stays True to Himself as He Leads By Example.

By Jailene Bernal//Coralville, Iowa– Iowa Heartlanders forward Jake Durflinger is a leader on and off the ice for his teammates, currently wearing an alternate captain ‘A’ in his second professional season. He’s become such a recognizable face and fan favorite over the last 1.5 seasons that it’s hard to remember that he joined the team halfway into a road trip last year.  


“I got on a plane from Florida and met you guys in beautiful Kalamazoo,” Durflinger joked when speaking with broadcaster David Fine at Copper Boar American Pub in North Liberty at the Iowa Heartlanders Hockey Hour.  


Now in his second-year pro, Durflinger values the need to stay true to himself. 


“I think I definitely grew, but I try to never really change,” he said when asked about becoming a leader in the room. “You can’t really change who you are, I think that's when leaders tend to struggle. When they turn into a leader and then they change who they are and what got them there.” 


From L-R: Liam Coughlin, Jake Durflinger and Will Calverley

In many ways, Durflinger’s play style lends itself to one who becomes a leader in professional hockey. He exemplifies what it means to do anything to give his team an edge. He scores (43 career points), forechecks well, plays on the penalty kill and has seven career fights and 176 career PIM in just under two seasons. 


“It's coming to work every day, not taking a day off,” he explained. “It's a long year, it's a lot of days at the rink, and being able to come to the rink and handle your emotions. You have to be a good teammate. It's more than just doing stuff for you, it's doing stuff for the whole team, the organization. Putting the mindset of what will get the team to the next level first.” 


He's had that mindset his entire career; Durflinger logged five NCAA seasons and four for the national powerhouse Denver. Though he wasn’t a huge points producer, he played in nearly every game for the Pioneers and then contributed heavily for Merrimack in his fifth NCAA year. In the USHL, he was viewed as a two-way forward for Sioux City and Bloomington.


Durflinger recognizes that an important part of his role is helping teammates adjust to the differences between professional and college hockey. 


“This league is a lot different than college, we have a lot of guys on this team that played in college last year, and it's kind of helping them realize those things, kind of expedite the process, instead of game 60 you realize, its game 30 you help them realize. [I try to] be someone that guys can come through to talk through it or just be able to lead by example.”


Durlinger has recorded a single-season-best 23 points in 45 games for the Heartlanders this season. 

 Next up

The Heartlanders continue a seven-game road trip with games at Toledo on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. and Sunday at 4:15 p.m.


Next week, Iowa completes the road trip with a back-to-back at Wichita on Fri., Mar. 8 at 7:00 p.m. and Sat., Mar. 9 at 7:00 p.m.


The Heartlanders are next at home to take on the Wheeling Nailers March 13-16 for three games at Xtream Arena. Iowa hosts Wheeling on Wed., Mar. 13 at 6:35 p.m. and Fri., Mar. 15 at 6:35 p.m. March 16th is St. Hat Trick’s Day, featuring a Heartlanders Mascot Dash Bobblehead giveaway to the first 500 fans, theme jerseys available for auction and a special appearance by the Kelly Cup, the ECHL’s championship trophy. 


On Fri., Mar. 22 at 6:35 p.m., the Heartlanders oppose the Wichita Thunder in the 100th home game in team history, featuring $5 youth tickets (online only, with purchase of adult ticket). 


Sat., Mar. 23 at 6:05 p.m. is Heartland Heroes Night against Wichita, honoring the frontline workers that selflessly serve eastern Iowa. 


On Sun., Mar. 24 at 2:05 p.m., Iowa wraps up the weekend against Wichita with Faith and Family Day, a team photo giveaway, and the final postgame skate of the season. 




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.