WATERFORD, MI – Derek Britton came to the Metro Jets by way of a trade from the Toledo Cherokee in late August and he has helped to solidify a blue line that was perhaps average at best coming into the season.
Britton has done more than just add depth to the Jets’ defense. He has brought a much-needed size factor (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and usually is matched up with the opponent’s top line most nights.
For Britton, though, the trade back to his home state wasn’t something he requested, but was something he gladly accepted.
”The trade occurred because there were many obligations I had close to home,” said Britton, a 19-year-old Sterling Heights native. “I was enrolled in college courses, working full time and had an old car that couldn’t make the commute to Toledo. Although (Toledo) coach (Scott) Syring had wanted me on his team, he was willing to make the trade and encouraged me to keep playing hockey.
“I did not set out to be traded, but I knew it needed to be done if I wanted to keep playing. I feel lucky to have had two great coaches last year and this year who push to get the most out of me. It was nice that they put my best interests ahead of everything.”
In the deal, the Jets sent defenseman Zach Schlacht to the Cherokee.
Through 10 games, Britton feels he has found his role with the Jets and is fitting in with his new teammates.
“This Jets team has a mix of experienced and talented young players,” explained Britton. “It has been very easy to adjust because I have played with and against some of my teammates. I was also familiar with (Metro) coach (Jason) Cirone and his expectations from past tryouts and speaking with friends who have played for him. I feel I fit in well with this team by supporting our defensive line and providing leadership for the younger players. I try to teach them what I have learned from my past and teach them to work hard every shift.”
And if the old adage that states hard work pays off holds true, Britton will see it happen in Waterford first-hand.
”My personal target is to keep working hard to improve my skills to make it to college or the next level,” said Britton. “I will do this by defending our side of the ice in any situation. My main focus is to stop scoring chances against us by getting the puck to our forwards as fast as possible. I need to make sure I am in the right position at all times for positive results.
”From a team standpoint, we need to keep working hard in practice so the wins keep coming to make it to the finals. I know this is tough, but we can do it if we work hard and do our jobs on the ice. This can and will happen if we work together as a team.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets sat idle last weekend after sweeping the Quad City Jr. Flames Oct. 13-14 at Lakeland Arena.
Metro (4-6-0-0) hosts the Flint Jr. Generals Friday night at 7:50 p.m.at home in its lone game of the weekend.
“Flint is always a good team,” said Metro captain Matt Stirling. “We always seem to have close games with them and they always bring a good effort every time we play them. With one game this week, we need to leave it all out on the ice to get the two points.”
Through 10 games this season, forward Travis Hargett has scored six goals – equaling his total goal output his first two seasons when he played 76 games.
Forward Doug Andrews has recorded a point in all but one game this season. His 17 points are good for a sixth-place tie among league scoring leaders.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Dwight Parrish, a forward from the early days of the Jets’ franchise, retired from a long pro career in 2009 that saw stops in the American Hockey League, International Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and in England.
Parrish, a 40-year-old Southfield native, also skated four years at Ferris State University from 1992-96.
His No. 17 jersey was retired by the Elite Ice Hockey League’s Manchester (England) Phoenix in 2009.