WATERFORD, Mich. – Kevin Shand had a taste of the North American Hockey League and wants to do all he can to make it back.
For now, though, he’s more than happy to be playing big minutes and contributing in a major way in the North American 3 Hockey League for the Metro Jets.
“It’s been a good time so far with the Jets and I’m having a good time,” said the 18-year-old Saline native. “I’m getting to know the guys, I’m playing a lot and we’re becoming a family. It’s definitely a very positive situation here.”
Last season, Shand was part of the Division 3 high school state champions at Cranbrook-Kingswood and then began this year with the Springfield Jr. Blues alongside Jets’ alums Kyle Shreve and Mike Gambino.
Three weeks ago, Shand was transferred to Waterford.
“This is a great organization and is run very professionally,” said Shand. “It’s not your typical Tier III team and there are plenty of opportunities to move up. You’ve got our head coach, Justin Quenneville, that coached in the NAHL and has lots of contacts there, and our two assistants, Randy Wilson and Tom Krajewski. Randy is the head scout with Springfield and helped get me there. Both he and Tom know a lot of people and all three of these guys will do all they can to get us exposure and be able to play at the next level.”
Shand’s father, Dave Shand, played in the NHL for the Atlanta Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals and was also an assistant coach at the University of Michigan from 1990-92.
“My dad coached me all the way until I got to high school,” Shand said. “He has so many stories and has always been there for me, whether it’s to give me that extra push as a player or to push me to be a better person and give me a boost when I need it. He always knows what to say and how to keep things positive and in perspective.”
Thus far with the Jets, Shand has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in just five games and sits third in team scoring.
“I’m not really a stats guy and all I want to do this year is keep improving and try and get another shot in the NAHL and then look at playing in college, either (NCAA) Division I or Division III,” Shand explained. “I never felt like I was taking a step back to come play in the NA3. I knew I’d come here and get some ice time and be more than a role player. I want to be a leader here and continue to play a lot of minutes.
“I’m just very happy to be here.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Metro gained a split with the perennial powerhouse St. Louis Jr. Blues last weekend on the road, getting a 4-3 win Sunday afternoon on a late goal by Shand.
Shand scored at 16:16 of the third period to snap a 3-3 tie and the Jets held on the rest of the way.
Zack MacKay tallied a goal and two assists for the Jets, while Cooper McLean and Alex Holm also scored to back Kameron Limburg's 32-save performance between the pipes.
Brad Hepler added two assists in the win.
Saturday night, the Jr. Blues defeated the Jets by a 9-3 count as Shand popped a pair of goals and MacKay also tallied.
Trevor Kalinowski and Davide Mantovani combined to make 22 saves in the Jets' goal, while newcomer and St. Louis native Vincent Scognamiglio, on loan from the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers, contributed two assists.
“Getting a split this past weekend was huge for us,” Metro captain Josh Beleski said. “I think we are going to start to turn things around and continue to win because we know we are a winning team. We just need to keep playing the way we can and we will be just fine.”
The Jets (6-8-1) travel to Flint this Friday night to play the Jr. Generals and then host the Michigan Mountain Cats on Saturday night at Lakeland Arena for a 7:50 p.m. puck drop.
“Flint and Michigan are two tough opponents,” Shand added. “If we play those guys the way we played Sunday in St. Louis, we’ll have a chance to get four points this weekend.”
The last time Metro beat St. Louis was on Nov. 3, 2007, in a 5-2 win at Lakeland Arena. In that game, the Jets trailed 2-0 late in the first period, but then saw Jordan MacDonald, Steve Wiechec, John Karwat, Ryan Eby and Kyle Schloegl rattle off five unanswered for the win. Alex Pikunas earned the win in net making 32 saves.
The last time the Jets won in St. Louis was prior to the 2006-07 season, before the NA3HL (then Central States Hockey League) had stats tracked by Pointstreak.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Former Jets’ forward Dwight Parrish, who played on the first-ever team back in 1989-90, enjoyed a college and pro career that spanned more than 700 games from 1992-2008.
Parrish, a 41-year-old Southfield native, skated at Ferris State University from 1992-96 and then in the American Hockey League, International Hockey League and East Coast Hockey Leagues before jaunting off to play pro hockey in Great Britain from 2000-08.
On Dec. 23, 2008, Parrish announced he was retiring from hockey to accept a job offer outside of hockey back in Michigan.
For his hockey career in England with both the Manchester Storm and Manchester Phoenix organizations, Parrish's No. 17 was the first to be retired by the Phoenix, a decision that was announced at Parrish's last game, a 3-2 home win against the Newcastle Vipers.
Photo by Nathan Kostegian/MiHockey