WATERFORD, MI – T.J. Krajewski is just 17 years old, but is finding his way through his rookie season with the Metro Jets and learning what Junior A hockey in the North American 3 Hockey League is all about.
Back on Nov. 11 at Battle Creek, the Macomb native and Jets’ defenseman tallied a goal and two assists – all of his points to date – along with a plus-4 rating in a 9-3 win over the Jr. Revolution in just his eighth game of the season.
Playing in just half the Jets’ games entering this week of play, Krajewski has been happy with his current situation.
“My season is going pretty well at this point,” Krajewski said. “It is quite the big jump coming from Midget A hockey (Krajewski played for the Rochester Rattlers last season – pictured), but I knew the NA3HL was a good league to start playing juniors in. It’s really big for me now that I got my first goal out of the way.”
Most players would say they want to keep scoring at a rapid pace as once they get that elusive first goal, they want more.
Not so, said the realistic Krajewski.
“I’m looking to score at least five goals this season,” said Krajewski. “The Jets are a good team and I know (Metro head coach Jason) Cirone will help me out a lot. He is a great coach and knows a lot about the game. As for my teammates, guys like Jeff Monfils, (Jets’ captain) Matt Stirling and Doug Andrews have all helped me through the season the most. I owe a lot to those guys.”
Just getting started in his junior career, Krajewski has some broad goals in mind for the future and wants to keep working to get to where he wants to be.
“Short-term, I just want to improve all of my skills,” Krajewski said. “Long term, I want to move up in the leagues and get a shot at playing college hockey.”
And with his confidence booming after his outbreak against Battle Creek, anything is possible for Krajewski.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets (7-8-0-0) sat idle last weekend, but play Wednesday night in Flint and then Sunday afternoon at home against the Michigan Mountain Cats and former Jets’ forward Cam Bruff (2011-12).
Of Stirling’s 27 points this season, just six have come on special teams (one shorthanded goal, one power-play goal and four power-play assists), showing how effective the Jets’ captain is playing five-on-five.
Andrews is just as potent five-on-five, with just a power-play goal and three power-play assists among his 25 points this year.
Both have also combined for just 10 penalty minutes (all minors) this season and each are among the top 10 NA3HL scoring leaders.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Two former Jets’ captains currently skate for the Oakland University ACHA Division I team in Adam Novack and Tommy Kilgore.
Novack, a senior, played for the Jets from 2007-09, while Kilgore, a freshman at OU, suited up for the Jets from 2010-12 and also played three games with the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons in early 2011.
Oakland junior forward Art Dore is also an ex-Jet and played for NCAA Division III Becker College prior to coming to OU.