FRASER, Mich. – Leadership comes in many different forms.
The Metro Jets exemplify that statement with their four captains this season.
Last week, second-year forward Griffin Sawyer was tabbed captain for the 2017-18 NA3HL campaign, while third-year defenseman Robby Flannery, second-year forward Connor Inger and second-year defenseman Trevor Momot were chosen as the team’s alternate captains.
Sawyer is a 1998 birth year, while the three alternates are all 1997s.
“It’s a huge honor to be the captain of such an amazing organization,” said Sawyer, a Trenton native. “It’s hard to put into words how much it means to me to even be a part of the team, let alone be the captain. The Metro Jets give me everything a junior hockey player could ask for, so I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to give back or to help in any way.
“I hold myself to a high standard because I know that when my team needs to rely on me, I need to be able to succeed, but with that being said, my job’s a lot easier when you’re surrounded by such an amazing group of guys like I am here at Metro. I think that every single person on the roster has a certain role and a unique way to help this team. I think there are plenty of leaders in the dressing room that won’t be wearing a letter on the jersey. I’m thrilled to have the ‘C’ for myself, but I’m even more excited to be a part of such an excellent group of men. “
Captains are chosen by a vote of the players and compared to the coaching staff of the Jets.
“The process I believe in always falls back on their peers,” said Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “I’ve had a lot of success when allowing the players to have a say. Not surprisingly, players always tend to support your view on who best exemplifies leadership on the team year in and year out. In the end, I see leadership as a responsibility. To represent, to exemplify and execute is most important in leaders and all four carry those characteristics. They all bring a level of value to our program and it’s naturally a great honor and responsibility that I know they will do well with.”
Flannery, the only remaining player on the Jets from when the franchise transitioned to Fraser Hockeyland for the 2015-16 season, brings a sense of seriousness blended with humor to the team.
“It’s nice being a captain and I think it says that the guys around the room look to me and the other three for leadership, so that means a lot to me,” the Lathrup Village product said. “I think we have four good guys this year with ‘Soy,’ ‘Mo,’ Inger and myself.
“I learned a lot from the captains last year (Graham Day, Dylan Naumovski, Jason Recchia, Marc Schwartz) and even my rookie year, I learned a lot from guys like Matt Dempsey, Kevin Shand and David Chavis. I’ve been fortunate to have so many older guys like Jake Gleason especially, even though he never wore a letter in his storied career, but he showed me what it meant to be a team guy whether it was on the ice or in the locker room. I guess I wouldn’t really say I’m a vocal leader, unless I have to be.”
Inger, a Macomb native whose overtime goal last March sent the Jets past the Pittsburgh Vengeance and into the Silver Cup (now Fraser Cup) National Tournament, said wearing a letter is more than just 60 minutes on the ice each game.
“It’s an honor to be named a captain since it was voted on by my teammates,” Inger said. “This year, we have a good leadership group that includes multiple guys who aren’t wearing letters who all lead in their own way. I think the biggest thing I learned last year was that the captains all went out of their way to build relationships with everyone on the team and make sure everyone was doing well and that’s something we are all building on this year.
“I try and lead by example during games and practices, just working on things that our coaching staff teaches us and I try and reinforce it to some of the younger guys to make their transition to junior hockey as smooth as possible.”
Momot called earning a letter this season “a monumental step for my life, on and off the ice.”
“Playing on the Metro Jets is a culture,” said Momot, from nearby New Baltimore. “You’re not just playing for a hockey team, and for the coaches, teammates and the organization to look at me as a leader means a lot to me. Along with Sawyer, ‘Flanny’ and Inger, I feel that all four of us bring something different to the table when it comes to leadership and that’s what makes us a strong unit. What I learned from the leaders last year was when you show up to the rink, it is a blessing that you get to play the game you love and not take it for granted. They all showed class, hard work and accountability, on and off the ice, and it rubbed off on all of us and that’s what made us so successful last season.
And while he does lead by example, Momot can be the vocal leader as well.
“When it comes to my leadership style, I consider myself to be the hype man and get the boys all wound up and ready for practices or game time whether it be in the locker room, on the bench or on the ice, I’m always talking and making sure the boys have the mindset of positive energy throughout the day,” Momot said. “I’m an open door for anybody that needs it and very easy to talk to.
“We have a great group here at Metro and it’s an honor to put that logo on every day.”
JETS CAPTAINS – PAST 10 SEASONS
2008-09 – Adam Novack
2009-10 – Michael Corder
2010-11 – Morgan James
2011-12 – Tommy Kilgore
2012-13 – Matt Stirling
2013-14 – Zack MacKay
2014-15 – David Chavis
2015-16 – Matt Dempsey
2016-17 – Graham Day
2017-18 – Griffin Sawyer