John Evangelista has some new teammates. Like the Sea Wolves, they wear blue and white uniforms. But this team plays with CD-roms, not hockey pucks.
Evangelista is Our Lady of Fatima's computer technician. He's kind of like the head coach of the computer classroom.
On the ice, teammates call him Stumpy. In the computer room, the kids call him Mr. Evangelista, or Mr. E. "I enjoy helping kids and working with them," Evangelista said. "Being involved in their life, and being a role model, I guess you could say."
Evangelista graduated from college four years ago with a degree in elementary education. His on ice knee injury gave him the perfect excuse to temporarily return to school.
"It just kind of opened my eyes a little bit," he said. "I stopped procrastinating and kind of got the ball rolling. Because eventually when I'm done with my hockey career, I can get my teaching degree and start teaching."
As a hockey player, Evangelista was trained to score goals, hand out assists, and hustle all the time. As Fatima's teaching assistant, he uses his enthusiasm to connect with the kids.
Teachers are impressed with his passion. Ynes Taylor recruited Evangelista to Fatima. She said Evangelista "is going to be a wonderful teacher because he has that ability, he has that charisma. And he has brought that with him to school."
"It's rewarding for me," Evangelista said, "because I see them succeed. And I know I had a part in doing that. And it really makes me feel good."
And that may be the most important assist Sea Wolves center John Evangelista will ever pass out.
Evangelista isn't certified to teach in Mississippi yet. But he is taking the tests that will earn him a teaching certificate.
By the way, his hockey career isn't over. He may be able to suit up for the playoffs, if he can get enough strength back in his right leg.