WATERFORD, MI – Mike MacKinnon had an easy decision on his hands when the Metro Jets drafted him in the second round of the North American 3 Hockey League draft this past June.
One of MacKinnon’s close friends, Cameron Bazin, played for the Jets last season and passed along encouraging words about the team and the league.
Metro head coach Jason Cirone was also familiar to MacKinnon as he had coached MacKinnon in a fall league session back when MacKinnon played at Troy Athens High School.
“I knew my fair share about the NA3HL before this year just from hearing about it from friends and hearing about it from playing juniors in a different league,” said the 19-year-old MacKinnon. “I knew a lot about the Jets since they are the most local junior team from my house and I have always heard good things. Jason's a good coach and and he demands a lot of his players, which will only pay dividends in the long run.
“I'm just going to keep working hard and hopefully some opportunities open up for me.”
Last year, MacKinnon played for the Yellowstone Quake in the Northern Pacific Hockey League and while he said he enjoyed the experience, it’s good to be home this year.
“Being away from home last year was nice, but so far, I like living at home better,” explained MacKinnon. “That’s one of the reasons I chose to play here because it’s pretty close to my house and I can still live my everyday personal life away from hockey.”
Entering this weekend, MacKinnon is third in team scoring with nine goals and 22 points in a dozen games playing mostly on a line with Steve Klisz and Matt Stemkoski.
“My line has been really good to this point,” said MacKinnon. “We focus on puck possession and we feel like we wear opposing defenses down. We know where each other is out there and it’s fun playing with those guys.”
More than piling up points, though, is MacKinnon’s team-first expectations.
”Personally, I want to continue working hard and helping my team win a lot of games,” MacKinnon said. “Ultimately, I think we can win our division and go to nationals.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
In their lone game last weekend, the Jets were blanked by the Flint Jr. Generals, 6-0, Saturday night at home.
“There were no positives in Saturday’s game,” said Metro captain Tommy Kilgore. “We were out-hustled and out-played in every aspect.”
This weekend, the Jets head to Cleveland for a two-game set with the Jr. Lumberjacks Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
”We are going to go into Cleveland ready to go full force,” added Kilgore. “We worked hard this week in practice and we will be well-prepared for them.”
Goalie Devin Williams, signed by the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters last week, dressed for his second game of the year in Erie Wednesday night in a backup role. Williams is expected back for the series this weekend in Cleveland.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The Oakland University ACHA Division I team has five former Jets on the roster.
Defensemen Mike Corder and Jacob DeSano and forwards Art Dore, David Merkle and Adam Novack play for the Golden Grizzlies this season.
Corder (2009-10) and Novack (2008-09) are both former Jets captains.