WATERFORD, MI – The Metro Jets announced today that forward Josh Beleski has signed a tender agreement with the Jamestown Ironmen of the North American Hockey League.
A tender is a contract of sorts a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted eight tenders – plus or minus any trades – which become active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft.
Beleski signed his tender immediately after the Jets’ 8-2 win over the Michigan Mountain Cats on Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.
“Jamestown’s chief scout, Dwayne Smith, who I’ve known a long time, had been in touch with me asking how Josh had been playing,” explained Metro coach Jason Cirone. “I told him he’d been improving and that he was a player I could see playing at the North American Hockey League level next season. Josh picked a heck of a game to score a hat trick on Sunday with Dwayne in the stands and he approached Josh after the game with the tender and he signed it on the spot.”
“Being offered a tender after the game was a little unexpected,” said Beleski, an 18-year-old from Southgate. “I saw Dwayne Smith in the stands watching what turned out for me to be a highlight game. To be honest, there was a lot of information to absorb in a short period of time and it is still sinking in, but making the decision to sign did not take long. It is a great opportunity for me and I was not going to pass it up.”
This season, Beleski is seventh in Jets scoring with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points.
Beleski was actually drafted by the Jets in 2010 and made the team, but chose to go back and play his senior year of high school for Southgate Anderson High School. This season, he looked at what the Jets could offer and decided to take the opportunity.
“I thought Josh could have played in this league last year,” said Cirone. “He made the decision to go play high school and we didn’t push him. We respected his decision, but we stayed in touch and showed patience. This year, I think he’s dedicated himself to being a junior hockey player and I don’t expect him back with us next year. He’s worked extremely hard and I’m extremely proud.”
And while a tender doesn’t guarantee Beleski a spot on the Western New York-based Ironmen next season, he’s planning to fine-tune some aspects of his game the rest of this season and into the spring and summer months.
“There are definitely things I need to improve on to become a better, well-rounded hockey player, but if I had to choose one, it would be my game away from the puck,” said Beleski. “Jamestown is definitely a stepping stone and one I look forward to taking. It has been a goal of mine to play college hockey and I know with hard work and determination good things will happen.”
Beleski also said playing this season in Waterford has been rewarding and he credits Cirone for helping to boost his game to the point where the NAHL has taken notice.
”Playing juniors has been a great experience and Jason is a great coach,” beamed Beleski. “With his knowledge and commitment, he has taught me a lot this year. My confidence is the highest it has been in a long time and I feel with hard work that I can achieve greater things.”
Beleski is the second Metro player to sign an NAHL tender after defenseman Adam Reid tendered with the New Mexico Mustangs in late December.