FRASER, Mich. – Alex Shell hoped he’d get an opportunity to play junior hockey in his home state.
After three seasons playing high school hockey for Rochester United, he’ll get that chance in 2015-16 with the Metro Jets.
Shell recently signed a tender agreement with the Jets, something that he was aspiring to accomplish while playing in Rochester, honing his skills as a talented forward.
“I came into contact with (Metro assistant) coach (Randy) Wilson around Christmastime and I came out to skate in a few practices,” explained Shell. “From there, I skated a few more times throughout the year leading up to this point. After meeting Coach Q (Justin Quenneville) and some further discussion with Coach Q, I was offered the chance to sign.”
Playing for Rochester at a high level was something Shell said that prepared him for the junior ranks with the Jets.
“The time I spent playing for Rochester United was great for me to grow as a player as the program itself gained notoriety,” Shell said. “At Rochester, we took getting better very seriously and it instilled a culture of performing at game speed whether it be practice, off-ice, or a game.”
Wilson brought Shell in early in the season to skate with the team and the coaching staff saw Shell fitting in nicely at Fraser Hockeyland.
“Alex Shell is a good, two-way player with a strong, physical presence, a good shot and an underrated offensive touch,” Wilson said. “He’ll be a good fit for our team game approach.”
“Alex will be a nice addition to the lineup and has a good mix of abilities for our level,” added Quenneville. “Most importantly, he will work hard every time he steps on the ice. We feel we can help him achieve his goals and provide him with an opportunity to develop in this environment.”
Shell, meanwhile, sees a busy summer ahead and one that he hopes equates to success next year with the Jets, the defending East Division champions.
“I would say I just need to stick to my status quo of working hard and just getting in as much skating and gym time as possible to develop as much as possible,” said Shell. “I would say I bring a little bit of skill with some grit as a solid player. I have decent enough size to use it and being a good skater puts me into good places on the ice. I know that the team had a pretty good last year in a pretty fast-paced league. From what I've seen, the program as a whole looks good and I've only heard good things from players.”
After the ’15-16 season, Shell will reevaluate his agenda, but he hopes to use this next season to keep climbing the ladder towards his ultimate goal.
“My long-term hockey goal is to play college hockey,” said Shell. “To fulfill this goal, I know I need to get better and get myself playing at as high a level as possible.”
Photo (l-r) – Justin Quenneville, Alex Shell, Randy Wilson