WATERFORD, MI – The Metro Jets announced today that Colin Ronayne has been hired as the team’s new assistant coach for the rest of the season.
Ronayne skated with Oakland University’s ACHA Division I team from 2007-2011 and played 35 games this season with the Knoxville (Tenn.) IceBears of the Southern Professional Hockey League and Brooklyn Aviators of the Federal Hockey League. He also served as OU’s captain last year.
The 25-year-old Commerce native also played for the Jets from 2005-07, so he knows the ins and outs of the Jets’ program. In essence, this is a homecoming for Ronayne and one he’s happy to be a part of.
“I work with (Metro head coach) Jason (Cirone) at Puckmasters and he talked to me about coming here to coach when I was going to try out and play pro last fall,” said Ronayne. “It worked out that I came back a little early and the job was still available, so I came out and I’m enjoying it so far.
“When I played here, I remember it was a short bench, but we worked hard and made the playoffs that year (2007). I learned a lot and I’m still pretty good friends with a lot of the guys from that team. There was good team chemistry that year.”
Playing pro hockey was something Ronayne never thought he’d be able to do, considering he never played AAA hockey during his youth days. He played high school hockey at Detroit Catholic Central before coming to the Jets and also played a few games with the Syracuse Stars in the Eastern Junior Hockey League.
“I didn’t really expect much,” said the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ronayne. “I pretty much went down to Knoxvilleon a whim and everything worked out and it was definitely a big learning experience for me.”
In fact, in a pre-season game between Knoxville and the Columbus Cottonmouths last October, Ronayne squared off with Morgan James, the Jets’ captain last year and ironically enough, a very good friend of Ronayne’s.
“We both agreed it was nothing personal,” laughed Ronayne. “It kept me in Knoxville a little longer and it helped Morgan secure a spot in Columbus for a little while. Something had to be done – no big deal.”
After this season wraps up, Ronayne said he’s be open to coming back as a coach next year or giving the pro game another shot.
“I’m kind of leaving the door open to maybe go back and play, but I’m not really focusing on that right now,” Ronayne said. “I’m just enjoying being here and being on the ice and helping out as much as I can and hopefully, I can learn something from Jason.”
Metro (23-14-0-1) will now get set to play five games in six days. The Jets skate at Battle Creek tonight and then after an off day Saturday, will head to Troy for the NA3HL East Showcase at the Troy Sports Center.
In Troy, the Jets will play the Michigan Mountain Cats on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Toledo Cherokee on Monday at 2:45 p.m., Battle Creek on Tuesday at 9 a.m.and then finishes up against the Queen City Steam on Wednesday at noon.