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NA3HL releases 2016-17 schedule

September 9, 2016 7:00 PM Metro Jets at West Michigan Wolves
(The Rink at Battle Creek)

September 10, 2016 7:30 PM West Michigan Wolves at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

September 16, 2016 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Toledo Cherokee
(Team Toledo Ice House)

September 17, 2016 7:30 PM Cincinnati Thunder at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

September 18, 2016 12:45 PM Cincinnati Thunder at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

September 24, 2016 6:30 PM Metro Jets at Pittsburgh Vengeance
(Blade Runners Ice Complex)

September 25, 2016 11:40 AM Metro Jets at Pittsburgh Vengeance
(Blade Runners Ice Complex)

October 1, 2016 7:30 PM West Michigan Wolves at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

October 2, 2016 2:00 PM West Michigan Wolves at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

October 8, 2016 6:45 PM Metro Jets at Peoria Mustangs
(Owens Center)

October 9, 2016 1:15 PM Metro Jets at Peoria Mustangs
(Owens Center)

October 14, 2016 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Toledo Cherokee
(Team Toledo Ice House)

October 15, 2016 7:30 PM Pittsburgh Vengeance at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

October 26, 2016 7:00 PM Metro Jets at West Michigan Wolves
(The Rink at Battle Creek)

October 29, 2016 7:30 PM Toledo Cherokee at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

November 4, 2016 7:45 PM Metro Jets at Wooster Oilers
(Alice Noble Ice Arena)

November 5, 2016 7:30 PM Wooster Oilers at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

November 11, 2016 7:00 PM Metro Jets at West Michigan Wolves
(The Rink at Battle Creek)

November 12, 2016 7:30 PM Southern Tier Xpress at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

November 18, 2016 7:00 PM Metro Jets at West Michigan Wolves
(The Rink at Battle Creek)

November 19, 2016 7:30 PM Toledo Cherokee at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

December 2, 2016 7:45 PM Metro Jets at Wooster Oilers
(Alice Noble Ice Arena)

December 3, 2016 7:30 PM Wooster Oilers at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

December 10, 2016 7:30 PM West Michigan Wolves at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

December 11, 2016 12:45 PM Toledo Cherokee at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

January 7, 2017 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Cincinnati Thunder
(South Metro Sports)

January 8, 2017 2:00 PM Metro Jets at Cincinnati Thunder
(South Metro Sports)

January 13, 2017 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Toledo Cherokee
(Team Toledo Ice House)

January 20, 2017 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Southern Tier Xpress
(Jamestown Savings Bank Arena)

January 21, 2017 6:30 PM Metro Jets at Pittsburgh Vengeance
(Blade Runners Ice Complex)

January 28, 2017 7:30 PM Pittsburgh Vengeance at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

January 29, 2017 12:45 PM Pittsburgh Vengeance at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

February 3, 2017 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Southern Tier Xpress
(Jamestown Savings Bank Arena)

February 4, 2017 5:00 PM Metro Jets at Southern Tier Xpress
(Jamestown Savings Bank Arena)

February 8, 2017 7:30 PM Toledo Cherokee at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

February 10, 2017 7:00 PM Metro Jets at West Michigan Wolves
(The Rink at Battle Creek)

February 18, 2017 7:30 PM Peoria Mustangs at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

February 19, 2017 12:45 PM Peoria Mustangs at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

February 24, 2017 7:00 PM Metro Jets at Toledo Cherokee
(Team Toledo Ice House)

February 25, 2017 7:30 PM West Michigan Wolves at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

March 4, 2017 7:30 PM Southern Tier Xpress at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

March 5, 2017 12:45 PM Southern Tier Xpress at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

March 10, 2017 7:45 PM Metro Jets at Wooster Oilers
(Alice Noble Ice Arena)

March 11, 2017 7:30 PM Wooster Oilers at Metro Jets
(Fraser Hockeyland)

Limburg adds to NCAA commitments haul

FRASER, Mich. – After three years with the Metro Jets, it’s time for Kam Limburg to move on.


The 20-year-old goaltender has committed to continue his career next season at NCAA Division III Westfield State University.


Jets teammate Pearce Vance will also play for the Owls this fall.


For Limburg, doing his homework was part of the recruiting process.


“The opportunity to commit came about after I went on a tour of the school's campus and met the head coach, Bob Miele,” said Limburg, a Hartland, Mich., native. “Towards the end of the season, I asked (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) about any schools that had shown interest in me and Westfield State was one of them. The more I looked into their school, the more I felt like it would be the best choice. So when the offer was made, it was a pretty easy ‘yes.’


“The hockey program at Westfield State is very good one and the last few years, they have sent a number of players to play professionally, and to have great careers in hockey outside of playing. The academics are also top notch with numerous majors and a great track record.”


Westfield State is a MASCAC school located in Westfield, Mass.


Truth be told, college won’t be the first time Limburg has left home for hockey. When he was 16 and 17, he uprooted to play Midget U18 AAA hockey for the Chicago Fury.


“I am prepared to be leaving home in the fall – it’s something I have done before – so it's nice to have a little experience under my belt,” Limburg said. “It will also be great to have Pearce there with me. We have been good friends and teammates the last two seasons together and I'm looking forward to a few more with him.”


At the moment, Limburg is planning on pursuing a business management major. 


Overall, from the 2015-16 season, six Jets players (Vance, Limburg, Jacob Rutkoske/Northland College, David Chavis/St. Mary’s University, Kevin Shand/Milwaukee School of Engineering, Jacob Drinkard/Lawrence University) have made NCAA D-III commitments and two more (Trevor Kalinowski/Adrian College, Spencer Graham/Aquinas College) will play ACHA hockey in the fall.


Jets assistant coach and goalie coach Randy Wilson couldn’t be happier to see Limburg earn himself a college hockey opportunity after years of development.


“I've known Kam since he was just a little guy – his dad, Karl, and I are buddies and we used to work the Quent Riha Goalie School together,” explained Wilson. “Since Kam got his start as a goalie, I've had the pleasure to work with him time to time through his formative amateur years with Compuware and Little Caesars and then in the summers when he was playing for the Chicago Fury. ”


“The last three years with Metro have had a very big impact on my development,” added Limburg. “I have learned how to take care of my body, but more importantly, how to dial in on the mental side of things, which I think is the biggest thing for a goaltender. Playing as many games as I did and the team being as successful as we were this year, I really had to be prepared for each puck that came my way.”


During the 2015-16 season, Limburg went 27-3-1-1 with a 2.20 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and five shutouts. His 27 wins led all of the NA3HL and he was also named to the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament.


In 2013-14, Limburg was called up to play for the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues and saw game action.


Wilson noted that Limburg’s improvement was noticeable over his three-year stint with the Jets.


“Last year, he obviously came into his own and displayed the poise that I knew he was capable of,” said Wilson. “He was a silent leader on our team, as he let his focus and work ethic demonstrate his leadership. The one thing that stands above every other accolade that I could give Kam is this – he was always mentally prepared and determined to excel, every practice and every game. I have no doubt that Kam will continue his success in college hockey, but more importantly, he will undoubtedly succeed in life. We will miss his passion and commitment.


“I wish him nothing but the best. Westfield State is getting a very mature and dedicated goaltender.”


“Kam was an MVP player for us this past season,” boasted Quenneville. “He was deserving of the collegiate attention and possesses all the abilities to succeed at anything he sets his mind too. Bob knows want kind of player they are getting, but is even more excited about the type of person coming in. By far one of the hardest workers I have coached and battled every time he stepped on the ice. He will be difficult to replace.”


Limburg added thanks to a select group as well.


“I would like to thank my coaches, Q, Randy and Jamie (Lovell),” said Limburg. “They have really helped me mature as a goalie and most importantly, as a person. I am extremely grateful for all they done for myself and the team. 


“And of course, I'd like to thank my parents, without their love and support, none of this would be possible.”


Next season, a new crop of Jets will attempt to continue the winning tradition established the past few years.


Limburg has a few words to the new players that will be donning Jets colors.


“It sounds pretty cliché, but my advice would be to work hard, appreciate every moment and just worry about where you are and how you are contributing, not where you think you should be,” Limburg said. “That's really the best way to get the most out of yourself.”

Tellstrom returning to lead the Jets offense

FRASER, Mich. – Next season, it’ll sure be different to see a No. 13 on the ice for the Metro Jets without No. 11 and No. 28.


But it sure will be nice to have that No. 13 back as talented scorer Mathias Tellstrom will be returning to the team for the 2016-17 NA3HL season, his last in junior hockey.


Michael Tratar (No. 11, aged out, looking at college options) and Kevin Shand (No. 28, aged out, committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at the Milwaukee School of Engineering), combined with Tellstrom, registered 228 points in 2015-16 (almost half of the team’s totals and top three in team scoring) before another 27 in four playoff games and 18 in five Silver Cup contests.


“Obviously, it will be a little different playing with new linemates and not skating next to ‘Trats’ and Shand because we had such good chemistry on and off the ice,” said Tellstrom, a 19-year-old native of Linkoping, Sweden. “And I will miss the lineys and I wish them luck for wherever their hockey career takes them, but I am looking forward to meeting two new guys that I can hopefully put up some points with and I hope we can become as close as me, Shand, and Tratar were.”


Last year, Tellstrom earned a call-up to the NAHL’s Kenai River Brown Bears and was also selected to play in the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament. He tallied 29 goals and 75 points in 41 regular-season games for the Jets and was named All-NA3HL Third Team and to the All-East Division Team.


“One of my favorite memories playing for the Jets was when we went to the Silver Cup and played in Chicago,” noted Tellstrom. “Not only were the hockey games fun, I loved hanging out with the boys. They were like brothers to me.”


Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville is elated to get a high-end player back at Fraser Hockeyland next season.


"’Telly’ had a big year for the Jets last year and for himself,” said Quenneville. “He had some opportunities in the NAHL and options in Europe to play professionally. For him to make the decision to return here shows his commitment to focusing on his development. He has high-end skill and possesses abilities that could translate to the next level, but he also knows to put in the necessary work to achieve his goals. We look forward on continuing to work with him and surrounding all these young men with as many opportunities as possible."


Tellstrom can’t wait to make the trek across Europe back to Michigan later this summer.


“I wanted to play for Metro again because I had such a good season last year and I have Coach Q, Jamie (Lovell) and Randy (Wilson) to thank for that,” said Tellstrom. “They taught me a lot of good things and I know if I stay for one more year, I know that they will teach me plenty more. Also, I know Metro is a great organization and I would love to be a part of that again. I can’t wait to go back to Detroit again because it has become a second home to me.


“I know that if I stay for another year they will help me develop even further and get me ready for pro hockey. I think it would be more beneficial for me to play here for Metro for one more season because they have such a great organization. I’m proud to represent them for one more year.”


After next season, Tellstrom is hoping pro hockey offers come his way and if he continues to develop at a rapid pace, he’ll realize a lifelong dream.


“I have had multiple discussions with Q and we have talked about the possibilities of me playing pro next year and luckily, he and the staff have played college and pro and can teach me habits that will help me to get to that goal I have of playing in pro hockey,” Tellstrom said. “Playing pro hockey is obviously my long-term goal and my short-term goals are to do whatever it takes to get me to that next level of hockey.”


Before any shot of pro hockey, Tellstrom has the 2016-17 season fresh on his mind.


“I think it’s really important to have good chemistry between the boys and the coaches,” said Tellstrom. “It’s also important to have high goals and I was disappointed last year being runner-up in the Silver Cup.


“I’m hungry for gold and I know the boys will be with me on that one.”

Jets announce 2016 draft picks, tenders

FRASER, Mich. – The Metro Jets selected three players in Tuesday night’s North American 3 Hockey League Draft and all three have the potential to make positive impacts during the 2016-17 season.

In the first round (47th overall), the Jets took Walled Lake Western High School forward Chris Donaldson. Then in the fifth round (230th overall), Metro grabbed University Liggett High School forward Brett Abdelnour before snagging Orchard Lake St. Mary’s forward Austin Stauffer in the eighth round (383rd overall).

Abdelnour was First Team Division 3 All-State last season, while Stauffer was tabbed Second Team Division 1 All-State.

Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville is excited with the draft picks and is anxious to see the players in a Jets uniform come this fall.

“We knew heading into this offseason we were going to have to make some decisions on how to approach the draft,” said Quenneville. “With the interest level we had from potential recruits, contacts with our NAHL teams and the overall model in which we operate under, it was necessary to acquire and have more tenders signed prior to the draft. With that said, with only three picks, all three have expressed interest in reporting to us in the fall of it doesn't work out initially in the NAHL, and each brings a mix of speed and skill.  

“We feel like this is our strongest recruiting class out of the gates we have had and we are excited about the potential lineup we can bring to training camp at the end of the summer.”

Quenneville added that Metro’s draft strategy was simple.

“We aim to bring in players that want to be here, identify the players that can transition to this level and build a lineup that will play our style successfully through ability and development,” Quenneville said. “I would like to again thank our hockey operations staff for their hard work.”

In addition, the Jets also signed 15 players to NA3HL tender agreements prior to Monday’s deadline:

1.       Griffin Sawyer, F, Trenton HS

2.       Evan Newel, F, Plymouth Salem HS

3.       John Carandang, F, Troy Sting U18

4.       Mihali See, F, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18

5.       Kristian Alafriz, F, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18

6.       Nick Blankenburg, F, Romeo HS

7.       Austin Caryl, F, Tri City Ice Hawks USPHL

8.       CJ Bradburn, F, Tri City Ice Hawks USPHL

9.       Nick Foran, D, Brighton HS

10.   Jay Keranen, D, Brighton HS

11.   Trevor Momot, D, Anchor Bay HS

12.   Derek Schaedig, G, Chelsea HS (also tendered by NAHL’s Janesville Jets)

13.   Nick Barrett, G, Metro Jr. Jets U18

14.   Cullen Barber, G, Livonia Stevenson HS (also drafted by NAHL’s Minnesota Magicians)

15.   Andrew Kormos, G, Belle Tire U18 AAA

Former Jet Oleksy wins Stanley Cup with Pens

By Eddie Bishop, LSSU Sports Information Director

Lord Stanley's Cup, the single most-treasured piece of hardware in hockey, eludes many. While growing up in metro Detroit and splitting his time between hockey and baseball, former Lake Superior State defenseman Steve Oleksy never dreamed he'd get the chance to hoist the 34.5 pounds of metal over his head in celebration of a National Hockey League title.

Oleksy's long road as a professional hockey journeyman led him to the precipice June 12 as his Pittsburgh Penguins team defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 to claim the series, four games to two.

"I never planned to make a career out of hockey," Oleksy said. "Coming out of high school I decided to give baseball a shot. But after a year I felt that I wasn't done with hockey and I wanted to continue to pursue a chance to play collegiately. College challenged me and taught me a lot about my game. It was a major development process in my life to juggle school and hockey, and it teaches you how to be a professional early on with the time management skills that you learn."

The Chesterfield, Mich., native earned one letter in baseball at NJCAA Macomb Community College, hitting .290 with two home runs and seven RBI, before returning to junior hockey to play with the North America Hockey League's Traverse City North Stars. While captaining the North Stars he scored 30 points and had 11 goals during 57 games.

School was always important in the Oleksy household and prioritized ahead of sports for Steve and his older brother Daniel. Playing college hockey was also important to Steve after growing up watching so many Central Collegiate Hockey Association games.

"College hockey was always the goal and what I aimed for, and I thought that if I could play hockey and earn my degree then I would have accomplished my goals," he said.

Oleksy got his shot at fulfilling his life-long dream when a scholarship offer was extended his way. Despite only having three years of eligibility remaining, and he joined the Lakers in 2006-07. In three seasons at LSSU, Oleksy scored three goals and tallied 20 points in 113 games while serving as a solid back-end anchor. Most importantly, he accomplished his goal of earning a college degree.

"College hockey was a phenomenal experience and playing in Sault Ste. Marie, where the town has such a strong sense of pride in hockey, made it that much more special," he said. "Before I went there I knew a few people, including Brian Felsner (1993-96), that helped make that connection and really sold me on playing for the Lakers.

"The connections I've made and people I've met through LSSU have truly been unbelievable.  I had a great group of teammates during my time and I still keep in touch with many of them to this day."

Following his third year with the Lakers, Oleksy graduated with a degree in business management and joined the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL). After turning pro, the 6-0, 190-pound blueliner bounced around the minors, including a brief appearance in the defunct International Hockey League with the Port Huron Icehawks before landing with the Idaho Steelheads and closing out the 2009-10 season on a high note. When he was re-signed for the 2010-11 season, he played 55 games with the Steelheads and scored seven goals and 21 points in 55 games. His first American Hockey League was with the Lake Erie Monsters for 17 games regular-season games and three playoff appearances.  

In 2011-12, his third full season as a pro, Oleksy produced a goal and seven assists during the first 14 games with the Idaho Steelheads before getting called up for 50 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Oleksy proved to be a capable back-stop at Bridgeport and contributed 1-14–15 with 98 penalty minutes.

The following season, Oleksy was called up by Washington, which sought a right-handed defenseman to provide depth. Oleksy played 28 games while splitting time between the Capitals and their AHL affiliate, the Hersey Bears. With his family in attendance, Oleksy tallied his first career point, an assist, during his first NHL game against the Boston Bruins.

"I've never been a big scorer in college and pros, but to score in my fifth NHL game, on national television, that was a huge weight off my shoulders and was a huge accomplishment in my career," Oleksy said.

Fast forward to 2015-16 and Oleksy played 63 games while serving as an assistant captain with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in his first year in the Penguins organization.

"This year, obviously being my first year with the Penguins organization, to be labeled as an assistant captain for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was a very big compliment from them," he said. "Being a first-year guy over here it was really nice. It's no secret that a lot of our guys left at some point during the season to join Pittsburgh, so it was obvious we had a great group down there. It was awesome to be successful at both levels, a very unique and outstanding feeling to be a part of that."

After the Baby Pens were bounced in the second round of the playoffs, Oleksy was recalled and promoted to the "Black Aces", a small group of players that practices together, separate from the team, during the playoffs, awaiting their chance to join the NHL active roster.

"It was actually just after we got knocked out of the AHL Playoffs that they called me and told me I'd be joining the NHL club to join the 'Black Aces,' and I was excited to earn that label and just be around the situation," Oleksy said. "A few days after I got here, we were flying to Tampa and Coach [Mike] Sullivan told me I'd be up with the team for the rest of the playoffs. So to be around the team this year during the situations they were in and the experiences they saw was a great learning experience for me and my future. During the run I was trying to stay mentally prepared in case I got the call, make my teammates better in practice and just try to be a good locker room guy — that was my way of contributing."

During the locker room celebration on Sunday night, Oleksy experienced another first — his first taste of alcohol, poured out of Lord Stanley's chalice.

"I never tried it previously and I never had a reason to," he said. "I could always have a good time without it and I felt like I was in control and responsible without drinking so I never really had the urge to, or ever wanted to. I always felt that it was a distraction to where I wanted to be. Anyone will tell you, when you're striving for success, the more distractions you can eliminate, the better your chances of succeeding.

"About four or five years ago my buddies would try to get me to drink and I told them 'If I ever win the Stanley Cup, that would be my first sip of alcohol.' And then, sure enough, I'm looking around the room and Sidney Crosby's holding the Cup and people are drinking out of it so I felt that was the opportunity to have my first sip… so that was my first sip of alcohol at 30 years old."

Four former LSSU players have had their names etched into the Stanley Cup, as well as a pair of former LSSU students who served as support staff for Stanley Cup championship teams. While he's not sure if his name will be among the list the Penguins submit to be etched on to the Cup, Oleksy revels in his role in the title chase and the ultimate celebration.

Vance off to NCAA D-III, picks Westfield State

FRASER, Mich. – The player advancements keep rolling for the Metro Jets.

After four previous NCAA Division III commitments, veteran forward Pearce Vance made it five with his recent commitment to Westfield State University.

Forwards Kevin Shand (Milwaukee School of Engineering) and Jacob Drinkard (Lawrence) and defensemen Jacob Rutkoske (Northland) and David Chavis (St. Mary’s) will join Vance at D-III institutions in the fall.

Westfield State plays in the seven-team MASCAC conference and is located in Westfield, Mass. The Owls finished with a 13-14-0 overall mark in 2015-16 and their 7-11-0 record in conference play was good for fifth in the league standings.

Vance said he owes a great deal of this commitment to Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville.

“’Q’ put me in contact with Coach (Bob) Miele and everything went from there,” said Vance, a 21-year-old out of Berkley, Mich. “From talking with Coach Miele, it seems like a great program and I look most forward to meeting the boys and getting to know them. I think I will fit in quite well because I think my playing style is perfect for the college level.”

"Pearce has been an offensive weapon for this program the past two seasons and was the X factor in our lineup that teams had to watch out for because of his speed and skill,” added Quenneville. “His success here is bound to translate at the NCAA level because of abilities and work ethic. I felt that the programs out east and the style they play would be an ideal fit for him. Colleges out east are always contacting us about players, and I knew Bob would be high on Pearce. Pearce is excited about playing next year and he will get that opportunity immediately with Westfield.

“We wish him the best of luck and congratulate Bob and his staff on a high-end pickup."

In two seasons with the Jets, Vance posted 34 goals and 91 points in 88 games. He was also a combined plus-52. Vance came over in a summer 2014 trade from the Michigan Mountain Cats, where he tallied 13 goals and 33 points in 2013-14.

A steady player, Vance was also named to the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament in 2014 and 2015.

“Q has taught me to play both sides of the puck, not only to be offensive, but also to play the ‘D’ side of the puck, which is important with the shorter schedule,” explained Vance. “I just want to thank my family and Coach Q, (assistant coach) Jamie Lovell and (assistant coach) Randy Wilson for getting to this point and the boys for making the ride an unforgettable experience.

“I will remember the boys the most – just being in the locker room everyday laughing and having a good time.”

Academically at Westfield State, Vance said he is looking into “a couple different science majors.”

Jets vet Drinkard chooses NCAA D-III Lawrence

FRASER, Mich. – Add Jacob Drinakrd’s name to the list of Metro Jets players that will skate in the NCAA Division III ranks during the 2016-17 season.

With his recent commitment to Lawrence University, an NCHA school located in Appleton, Wis., Drinkard will play against former Metro teammates Jacob Rutkoske (Northland College) and Kevin Shand (Milwaukee School of Engineering) in NCHA contests next year.

Drinkard, who was an alternate captain with the Jets this past season, tallied 22 goals and 52 points in 40 games and also had a stint in the NAHL with the Kenai River Brown Bears.

Now, the 20-year-old Lapeer, Mich., product is off to a Vikings team that finished 9-14-3 last season.

“I reached out to them around December and they had watched me on FASTHockey and finally had the opportunity to come see me play in person during playoffs,” Drinkard said. “Following the season, I went on a visit and that is when they offered me.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Jake to Lawrence University and our hockey program,” said Lawrence coach Mike Szkodzinski. “His on-ice talents will certainly enhance our ability to possess the puck down low and create more scoring opportunities. From the minute he stepped on campus, we could also tell he has the characteristics to be a great representative of our program and the university. We know we just got better with Jake's commitment and we will do everything we can to help him develop on and off the ice.”

Coming to the Jets in an early-season trade from the La Crosse Freeze in 2014-15 after a season in the NA3HL with the Flint Jr. Generals, Drinkard immediately fit in with the Jets system. He posted nine goals and 22 points in 28 games in his first run with Metro.

“’Drinks’ had a career season and has come a long way in his development,” said Metro coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “A true versatile player in every sense of the way. He did everything for us on the ice and off the ice, his character and leadership represented this team in a way any coach would want. He had other NCAA opportunities, but Lawrence really wanted him this upcoming year and at the end of the day, that's what this is about. We wish Jake the best of luck and it will be difficult to replace a player of his quality.”

“The past two seasons with the Jets were unbelievable for my development as a player and as a person,” added Drinkard. “I can’t thank the players and especially the coaching staff at Metro enough for all that they have done for me. Coach Q and the coaches with Metro have been the biggest influence in my hockey career and have made me the player I am today. They have prepared me to make the jump to college hockey.

“It just shows what the coaching staff is doing works. Believing in the process and taking in all the amazing knowledge that the coaches can give you is allowing us to fulfill our dreams of playing college hockey.”

The thanks don’t end there, though.

“I would especially like to thank my mom and my dad, Jennifer and Todd, for always supporting me,” said Drinkard.

In college, Drinakrd is looking to major in economics.

He said getting back into the rhythm of the school side of things won’t be a major adjustment.

“I don’t think it will be too rough to get back in the swing academically,” Drinkard said. “These two years off from school have allowed me to mature a lot, so I’m pretty excited to be back in the classroom. As far as hockey, it’s always tough jumping to a higher level of hockey, but I plan on training very hard this summer to be ready.”

NCAA D-III SMU the next stop for d-man Chavis

FRASER, Mich. – David Chavis is the perfect example of what happens when you believe in the system.

A two-year defenseman for the NA3HL’s Metro Jets after a full season in the NAHL with the Odessa Jackalopes in 2013-14, Chavis had other NAHL options for this past season, but chose to stay with the Jets and hone his craft to prepare for the college game.

That dedication and choice has now paid off for the 21-year-old Grosse Pointe, Mich., native as Chavis will play NCAA D-III hockey this fall for St. Mary’s University, a school in the MIAC conference and located in Winona, Minn.

“I actually talked to them towards the end of my first season with the Jets and Coach (Bill) Moore had expressed interest in me then, but I decided that another year of juniors was going to be best for me,” said Chavis. “I kept in contact with the St. Mary's coaching staff and when going to SMU was still an option after this season, it felt like the right place for me.”

Chavis is the third Jets player from 2015-16 to make a D-III commitment, following forward Kevin Shand, who committed to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (NCHA) last week, and defenseman Jake Rutkoske, who chose Northland College (NCHA) back in February.

Forward Spencer Graham (Aquinas College) and goaltender Trevor Kalinowski (Adrian College) also made ACHA college choices this offseason.

“Obviously, I have to thank my parents because without them and their support, I wouldn't be playing hockey – they've been there since Day 1,” Chavis said. “I have to thank ‘Q’ (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) and (assistant coach) Jamie Lovell, as well as Coach Randy (Wilson) for really elevating my game. They've taught me so much in hockey and about life outside the rink in such a short span of time. I'll always be grateful for the knowledge and opportunities the Metro Jets organization has given me. I also want to thank coaches Craig Sarner and Greg Gatto of the Odessa Jackalopes organization.”

For Chavis, who captained the Jets in 2014-15 and had NAHL stints with the Minnesota Wilderness and Aston Rebels the past two seasons, he said playing for Quenneville had the most impact on his overall development.

“The last two years meant everything to me, not only as a hockey player, but as a person,” boasted Chavis. “I've grown so much on and off the ice thanks to this organization as well as all my teammates. There’s been so many special moments for me over the last two years with the Metro Jets, but truthfully, my most memorable moments aren't the Silver Cup runs or the Top Prospect Tournaments, they're the times spent on the bus or in the locker room with the boys.

“Those memories that we shared as a team are the times I'll always remember and I'll miss the most.”

Quenneville said replacing a big body (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) on the back end, as well as an intelligent player in Chavis won’t be an easy task.

“Losing a player of David's caliber is always difficult, but at the end of the day, he came here with the right mindset and put in the work to achieve his ultimate goal of playing NCAA hockey,” said Quenneville. “He is a true leader in every sense of the way and now will bring his abilities to St. Mary's. On the ice, there is a reason why so many schools wanted his services. He is big, strong, is a very good defender and plays hard in all three zones. Creating interest in David was one of the easy jobs because he sold himself so professionally on and off the ice.

“We wish David nothing but the best of luck at SMU.”

Each season with the Jets, Chavis totaled 26 points and finished with a plus-39 rating. In 2014-15, he scored eight goals and added 18 assists, while this past year, rang up nine goals and 17 assists. He also had 41 penalty minutes this year and 40 last season.

How’s that for consistency?

Now moving forward and getting back into the academic mindset, Chavis said he’s looking to go into a pre-medicine program and maybe taking a few political science courses, too.  

“As a freshman coming into college next fall, my job is to work this offseason so I can contribute and do what it takes to help the team succeed next season,” said Chavis. “Jumping to the next level of hockey is always challenging, but it's something I'm going to take in stride and make the most of my opportunities.”

And down the road, Chavis has already started to explore those options as well.

“I see myself graduating with a degree after four great years of college hockey at St. Mary's University and then after that, I can't imagine,” Chavis said. “Maybe there will be pro hockey opportunities at some point, but the most important thing for me is getting my education, my degree, and eventually going on to medical school.”

Kalinowski to join Jets alums down at Adrian

FRASER, Mich. – And make it four.

The offseason college commitments for the Metro Jets continued Wednesday as goaltender Trevor Kalinowski will play ACHA hockey at Adrian College starting this fall.

Previously, defenseman Jake Rutkoske (NCAA Division III Northland College) and forwards Kevin Shand (NCAA D-III Milwaukee School of Engineering) and Spencer Graham (ACHA Aquinas College) announced their intentions for this fall.

Kalinowski began the 2015-16 season in a battle with Kam Limburg and Austin Kane for playing time in the Metro net before a torn labrum in his hip in late September sidelined the 20-year-old Commerce Township, Mich., native the rest of the year.

Still, Kalinowski worked to stay in shape and keep his game as sharp as possible before getting the chance with Adrian.

“The opportunity came out of nowhere,” Kalinowski said. “Adrian originally wasn't on my radar, but their coach contacted me and after a visit, it became the best option. Our goalie coach (Randy Wilson) also recommended Adrian as a good fit for me.”

Being off the ice was admittedly tough for Kalinowski in his last year of junior eligibility, but said he found the positives and focused on those.

“I tried to stay off of the ice for a week or two to rest and come back, but it did not work,” Kalinowski said. “I realized I was going to have to get surgery and will be going in May 3 to undergo my operation. It wasn't hard watching from the sidelines thanks to the support of the boys and being able to help out around the rink in any way I could.”

Adrian has three former Jets with the program in defenseman Josh Hosking and forwards Cooper McLean and Zach MacKay.

“I was familiar with Adrian's program from a preseason game against their ACHA Division I team back in the 2012-13 season,” said Kalinowski. “It will be nice to see the boys again. The program is highly competitive and I'm excited to compete and push the other goaltenders every day.”

In the classroom at Adrian, Kalinowski has his eye on pursuing a major in biology with a focus geared towards the medical field.

Kalinowski played for the Jets from 2012-14 and then this past year.

Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville saw Kalinowski progress each season he was with Metro.

"’Kali’ was a big part of this team's success, regardless of how it played for him,” Quenneville said. “At the end of the day, he will move on ending his junior career as a Jet and that's how he wanted it. Adrian will be acquiring a high work ethic, coachable and passionate player in Trevor. I remember a few years ago when he played an integral role when I first took over a team that needed a spark to get themselves just to a playoff spot. We wish Kali the best of luck and he will be joining other fellow Jets alums who are doing big things with a top-notch program.”

“The three years with Metro were some of the best years of my hockey career,” added Kalinowski. “I made leaps and bounds in my development thanks to ‘Q,’ Randy, (assistant coach) Jamie Lovell and (former head coach) Jason Cirone. They gave me a platform and the resources to push myself to achieve my goals. Looking back to my first year, I wouldn't have known much about ACHA hockey and being able to play at that level.

“It’s almost ironic that my junior hockey career began with our first game against Adrian in a preseason matchup and now I'm going to start my college career there.”

And even after surgery next week, Kalinowski is ready for summer training.

“I’m very excited for this summer,” said Kalinowski. “After I am cleared to get back on the ice, I plan on skating with a lot of the boys at Fraser Hockeyland until we have to leave for the start of the school year. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to train with Randy and use the MAT (Michigan Athletic Training, located inside Fraser Hockeyland) to get game-ready.”

Stay tuned as more Jets college commitments will be announced in the coming days.