WATERFORD, MI – The Metro Jets announced today that second-year defenseman Will Shier has signed a tender agreement with the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings of the North American Hockey League for the 2012-13 season.
Shier’s agreement follows Josh Beleski signing with the Jamestown Ironmen earlier this week and is the third Jets’ player to commit to an NAHL team this season after defenseman Adam Reid inked with the New Mexico Mustangs last month.
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.
“The head coach of Kalamazoo, Marc Fakler, approached me after my second game of the NA3HL Showcase in Chicago (in December),” explained Shier, a 19-year-old from Sterling Heights. “He told me he had been watching me closely and he thought my game has improved greatly since the pre-draft camp last summer and that a step up to the NAHL next season would be good for me.”
Fakler then invited Shier to Kalamazoo the following week to show him the rink and the city and to meet the team staff.
“I thought the facility (Wings Stadium) was amazing and the staff was great, so when I was offered the tender, I gladly accepted,” said Shier, the Jets' top-scoring defenseman with 14 points in 30 games. “I have been watching the team and I think their record speaks for itself. Being a first-year team and doing as well as they are shows that Kalamazoo is a top-notch organization with excellent coaching. I definitely want to be a part of that next season.”
Metro coach Jason Cirone said when the Jets acquired Shier last season from the Yellowstone Quake of the Northern Pacific Hockey League, he saw potential for Shier to be a big-time player with the Jets.
“When we got Will, I noticed a few things he needed to work on and to his credit, he’s done everything I’ve asked and has evolved into a dominant defenseman in this league,” said Cirone. “I just tweaked a few things, but Will is the one who went out and did all the work. He gets all the credit for what he’s accomplished. He plays more than 30 minutes a game for us and I see him making a major impact next season with Kalamazoo.”
Earlier this season, Shier earned a call-up to the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons and took notice of what goes into being an NAHL-caliber player.
”After playing a few NAHL games, I now know what the league is all about and what is expected of its players,” Shier said. “I have been working hard to improve every aspect of my game and will continue to push myself to get ready for next season. With the help of Coach Cirone, I am confident I can step in and make Kalamazoo's lineup next season.
”It was an easy decision to come back this year and play for the Jets again. I knew this would be the best place for me to work on my game and also be seen by scouts. Jason is constantly helping me fine-tune my game and I credit him with getting my game to where it needed to be to receive this opportunity. The NAHL produces some of the top junior players and through hard work, I believe I can join that group of players.”
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