Ames native has dream come true with Cyclone hockey


Photo:William Deaton/ Iowa State Daily

ISU forward Austin Parle focuses on the puck as the referee drops it during the game against Kansas on Friday, Sept. 28, at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Cyclones won 9-1.

Robert Hein

With a mother whose license plate reads “KICKICE,” Austin Parle was bound to become a hockey star.

The 21-year-old Ames native is near the top of the team leaderboard for scoring with five goals this season for the ISU hockey team, no small feat for a freshman forward. Parle is the tallest player on the team, listed at 6-foot-4.

The early success may come as a surprise to some, but to Parle and his supporters, the success was exactly what they expected.

“Austin always meets his goals,” said Angie Lambert-Cox, Parle’s mother. “He expects to play great hockey, and we just know he will.”

Despite all the success, Parle is quick to shift the credit to his teammates and coaches.

“If you’re on a team that really strives to be its best and give 110 percent effort, with a coach who gives you all the tools to be successful, everyone looks good,” Parle said. “I know I wouldn’t have had any success if it wasn’t for the coaches and teammates I’ve been so lucky to have.”

At the age of 3, Parle’s father took him and his younger brother, Dylan, to the old Ames/ISU Ice Arena to skate. After skating, the boys decided to stay and watch the Cyclone Hockey Club play.

All it took was seeing Iowa State play once to get Parle hooked.

“Growing up, I don’t think I ever missed an ISU hockey game. And they always were the highlight of my week, and something I really looked forward to going to,” Parle said. 

Parle had developed one dream: To one day be deemed worthy of putting on a Cyclone hockey jersey and lacing up his skates to play for Iowa State.

As a child, Parle always had a hockey stick in his hand. He was always ready to play and knew achieving his goal would require a lot of hard work.

“In his free time he would spend hours shooting pucks at the net,” said Jerry Parle, Austin’s father. “He and his brother would take turns playing goalie, while the other would stick handle and shoot.”

To some young hockey players, the warm summer months would mean a break from hockey and time to relax and hit the pool. But Parle was dedicated to realizing his dream.

“We got them roller blades so they could play roller hockey in the summer, and they would organize games with the neighbor kids and kids from the team,” Jerry said.

Parle’s hard work has been evident and is paying off. He played one year of Junior A in Dubuque, Iowa, and two years of Junior A in Boise, Idaho, winning the league championship Thorne Cup with his brother this past year.

Parle’s previous success has carried over into his young college career, but he is concerned with more than just performing on the ice.

“I do want to be a good role model and stay out of trouble; doing the right things you could say,” Parle said. “I know that if I do the right things and play as hard as I can, everything will be fine.”

From his father — who put 360,000 miles on his car traveling to hockey games — to his mother and the rest of his family, who make the trip to all the home games they can, Parle is grateful for the support. 

“I just owe [my father] so much, you wouldn’t believe. But when I give my full effort, and he sees me being successful, that is really gratifying for him, and no money can match that,” Parle said. “My mom has always been there for me, also. She has been my number one follower my whole life, and I know, whether I win or lose, she will still love me.

“I was really lucky to have such supportive parents that gave me the opportunity to play this amazing game.”

Some people aim to excel in sports for the fame, some for the glory. Parle plays for the love of the game and the thrill of the competition.

“It’s really a surreal feeling. Skating full speed down the ice, getting a big goal or hit, it sort of just blocks everything out of the real world, and nothing else matters except the game,” Parle said. “Especially now while taking classes and things can get stressful — hockey helps keep me grounded.”