FRASER, Mich. – After three years with the Metro Jets, it’s time for Kam Limburg to move on.
The 20-year-old goaltender has committed to continue his career next season at NCAA Division III Westfield State University.
Jets teammate Pearce Vance will also play for the Owls this fall.
For Limburg, doing his homework was part of the recruiting process.
“The opportunity to commit came about after I went on a tour of the school's campus and met the head coach, Bob Miele,” said Limburg, a Hartland, Mich., native. “Towards the end of the season, I asked (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) about any schools that had shown interest in me and Westfield State was one of them. The more I looked into their school, the more I felt like it would be the best choice. So when the offer was made, it was a pretty easy ‘yes.’
“The hockey program at Westfield State is very good one and the last few years, they have sent a number of players to play professionally, and to have great careers in hockey outside of playing. The academics are also top notch with numerous majors and a great track record.”
Westfield State is a MASCAC school located in Westfield, Mass.
Truth be told, college won’t be the first time Limburg has left home for hockey. When he was 16 and 17, he uprooted to play Midget U18 AAA hockey for the Chicago Fury.
“I am prepared to be leaving home in the fall – it’s something I have done before – so it's nice to have a little experience under my belt,” Limburg said. “It will also be great to have Pearce there with me. We have been good friends and teammates the last two seasons together and I'm looking forward to a few more with him.”
At the moment, Limburg is planning on pursuing a business management major.
Overall, from the 2015-16 season, six Jets players (Vance, Limburg, Jacob Rutkoske/Northland College, David Chavis/St. Mary’s University, Kevin Shand/Milwaukee School of Engineering, Jacob Drinkard/Lawrence University) have made NCAA D-III commitments and two more (Trevor Kalinowski/Adrian College, Spencer Graham/Aquinas College) will play ACHA hockey in the fall.
Jets assistant coach and goalie coach Randy Wilson couldn’t be happier to see Limburg earn himself a college hockey opportunity after years of development.
“I've known Kam since he was just a little guy – his dad, Karl, and I are buddies and we used to work the Quent Riha Goalie School together,” explained Wilson. “Since Kam got his start as a goalie, I've had the pleasure to work with him time to time through his formative amateur years with Compuware and Little Caesars and then in the summers when he was playing for the Chicago Fury. ”
“The last three years with Metro have had a very big impact on my development,” added Limburg. “I have learned how to take care of my body, but more importantly, how to dial in on the mental side of things, which I think is the biggest thing for a goaltender. Playing as many games as I did and the team being as successful as we were this year, I really had to be prepared for each puck that came my way.”
During the 2015-16 season, Limburg went 27-3-1-1 with a 2.20 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and five shutouts. His 27 wins led all of the NA3HL and he was also named to the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament.
In 2013-14, Limburg was called up to play for the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues and saw game action.
Wilson noted that Limburg’s improvement was noticeable over his three-year stint with the Jets.
“Last year, he obviously came into his own and displayed the poise that I knew he was capable of,” said Wilson. “He was a silent leader on our team, as he let his focus and work ethic demonstrate his leadership. The one thing that stands above every other accolade that I could give Kam is this – he was always mentally prepared and determined to excel, every practice and every game. I have no doubt that Kam will continue his success in college hockey, but more importantly, he will undoubtedly succeed in life. We will miss his passion and commitment.
“I wish him nothing but the best. Westfield State is getting a very mature and dedicated goaltender.”
“Kam was an MVP player for us this past season,” boasted Quenneville. “He was deserving of the collegiate attention and possesses all the abilities to succeed at anything he sets his mind too. Bob knows want kind of player they are getting, but is even more excited about the type of person coming in. By far one of the hardest workers I have coached and battled every time he stepped on the ice. He will be difficult to replace.”
Limburg added thanks to a select group as well.
“I would like to thank my coaches, Q, Randy and Jamie (Lovell),” said Limburg. “They have really helped me mature as a goalie and most importantly, as a person. I am extremely grateful for all they done for myself and the team.
“And of course, I'd like to thank my parents, without their love and support, none of this would be possible.”
Next season, a new crop of Jets will attempt to continue the winning tradition established the past few years.
Limburg has a few words to the new players that will be donning Jets colors.
“It sounds pretty cliché, but my advice would be to work hard, appreciate every moment and just worry about where you are and how you are contributing, not where you think you should be,” Limburg said. “That's really the best way to get the most out of yourself.”