2010-11: Aleksi Makela played for the Ilves U16 team in Tampere, Finland. He scored 6 goals with 14 assists and had 43 penalty minutes in 30 games.
2011-12: Makela appeared in four U20 SM-Liiga games with Ilves' junior team; spending most of the season at the U18 level. He had no points and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes in four U20 games. Makela played 35 games with Ilves' U18 team, including three playoff games, and scored 5 goals with 9 assists and 12 penalty minutes. He also skated for Ilves' second B junior team, which captured a silver medal in its division. He had 2 assists in two regular season games and scored 4 goals with 6 assists and had 10 penalty minutes in nine playoff games.
2012-13: Makela made his SM-Liiga debut in February, skating in seven late season games and three relegation playoff contests for Ilves after playing for the club's U20 and U18 teams during the season. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was -2 with 4 penalty minutes during the regular season. Finishing last for the third time in four seasons, Ilves defeated Mestis champion Jukurit in a best-of-seven series to avoid relegation. Makela was +2 with 1 assist in three relegation games. He scored 8 goals with 9 assists in 37 games and was +3 with 42 penalty minutes for Ilves U20 team, which finished 11th, one point out of a playoff spot. Makela skated in eight games for Finland's U18 team, with 2 assists, but was not part of the bronze medal-winning squad in Sochi. Ranked 96th amongst European skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings, Makela was selected by Dallas in the seventh round (182nd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Makela is still a raw talent and has flown under the radar in terms of playing in Finland's junior program. He has the prototypical size of an NHL defenseman and skates well for his size. He plays a sound two-way game and his passing skills and play-making ability are what likely drew the attention of scouts. Makela had the opportunity to play in the Finland SM-Liiga as an 18-year-old due to the lack of depth for Ilves' last-place men's team and gained valuable experience.