Stephane “Rebel” Yelle was never a great NHL scorer (season high: 27 pts) but he made a solid career for himself at hockey’s highest level, bringing grit and leadership where he came up short in style points.
Yelle, an Ottawa native, was picked in the eighth round of the 1992 draft. He made his debut in 1995 as a member of the inaugural Colorado Avalanche– though he was, for a short time, the property of the Quebec Nordiques before the team relocated to Denver. As such, he was one of the last members of the old Nordiques to suit up in the NHL. He was like Jamey Carroll, Bruce Chen, and the other former Expos , except he played hockey.
Yelle was a member of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the Avs. The first came in 95-96, his rookie year, in which he appeared in all but one game for Colorado. Yelle and the Avalance hoisted the Cup again a few years later, in 2000-01, before Yelle was traded to Calgary. The Flames went to the Cup Finals in 2004, and there was Stephane Yelle, playing both forward and defense for the Flames– the year’s Cinderella team, which nearly won it all, but got totally screwed in game 6 , and ultimately lost in seven games to the Lightning.
Calgary was Stephane Yelle’s home for five years, where he was a fan favorite. He was near the end of his career when the Bruins signed him for the 08-09 season. He played 77 games in Boston, before moving on to the Hurricanes, again for just part of a year. He was traded back to the Avalanche, where it all started, toward the end of the 2009-2010 season, after which Yelle hung it up for good. He played in 991 NHL games, and collected 265 points along the way, in addition to the two Stanley Cups. Yelle is a working man’s hockey player, and one of OA’s very favorites.