FRASER, Mich. – The Metro Jets not only have a slew of new faces on the ice this season, but have also added a member to the coaching staff.
Steve Kruk, a 28-year-old native of nearby Clinton Township, has joined the club as the team’s new associate coach.
In his role, Kruk will be responsible for helping organize practice plans and various analytical and coaching duties.
“I had actually gotten offers from a couple other teams in the NA3 to come out and be a head or assistant coach,” explained Kruk. “However, none of the opportunities made sense for myself and my family logistically. I had known (Jets assistant coach) Jamie Lovell through the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies organization and he and I had shared several conversations in months past about potential coaching opportunities with the Jets organization. Shortly after, I met with ‘Q’ (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) and we both agreed this would be a great opportunity and beneficial to both the team and myself.”
Quenneville has mutual, positive feelings on the hiring.
“The past few weeks have been great in watching how Steve has transitioned to junior hockey,” said Quenneville. “He is a sharp guy and has a high-level hockey IQ, which will help him at this level. We are excited about his addition to our already decorated staff and look forward to continuing to elevate our platform for our young men. Steve has already made an impact with our group and we hope to help him in his development as well.”
Kruk is the associate head coach with Jr. Grizzlies U16 Tier II team that won a USA Hockey National Championship in back-to-back seasons, the head coach for the Jr. Grizzlies 2007 AAA team and is the varsity head coach with Birmingham Unified High School. He also works with the Birmingham Hockey Association.
He took in both Jets games last weekend and came away impressed as Metro swept both ends of a home-and-home series with the Lansing Wolves.
“The Jets organization is first class – it is run like a professional team,” Kruk said. “The coaching staff is extremely knowledgeable and puts in a ton of extra time to give their players the best chance at success. Our owner (Peter Cammick) is terrific and supports every decision we make as a coaching staff and the volunteers are incredible, especially on game day, taking care of everything behind the scenes.”
On the ice during his playing career, Kruk skated four years of junior hockey in Ontario with the Leamington Flyers and Chatham Maroons. He had opportunities to play college hockey, but wanted to see what minor pro hockey had to offer. Kruk attended main camp and played exhibition games with the 1000 Island Privateers in the Federal Hockey League before leaving due to family reasons.
These days, Kruk resides in Fraser with his wife, Jessica, daughter, Hailey, and sons, Aiden and newborn Grayson.
“My short-term goals here are to provide as much value as possible to this coaching staff and help this team win a Fraser Cup National Championship,” said Kruk. “Long-term goals are to eventually be a head coach and GM at this level and higher in leagues such as the NAHL and USHL.”