WATERFORD, Mich. – Cody Jones was drafted by the Metro Jets in the 2012 North American 3 Hockey League draft.
He chose not to report to the team.
Jones was then drafted again in the 2013 draft and this time, he wound up playing for the Jets.
He’s done more than just take up a roster spot, too. In fact, Jones has been one of the Jets’ more consistent and clutch players this season and has been at or near the top of the team scoring race much of the season.
In hindsight, though, Jones said waiting until after he graduated high school to play in the NA3HL was the right decision.
“I felt that the extra year gave me a chance to mature and to develop my skills that much more,” said Jones, a forward. “Last year playing for West Bloomfield High School, it taught me how to be a leader.”
Even with his early-season success, Jones realizes it’s too soon to get excited.
“I feel I have played well, but I know that there is definite room for improvement,” Jones said.
And with so many players leaving Michigan to play junior hockey, the fact Jones can still live at home and play Tier III hockey isn’t lost on the 18-year-old from Keego Harbor.
“It's awesome being able to play at the junior level and still be able to see you family everyday,” remarked Jones.
With new head coach Justin Quenneville in the fold, Jones said it was hard to see Jason Cirone move on to take a head coaching job at the ACHA college level with Midland University in Fremont, Neb., but he’s willing to see what Quenneville has to offer.
”Coach Jason taught me that keeping things simple is better,” said Jones. “If you do your job on and off the ice, only good things will happen. I'm very excited about the new coach. He's energetic and has a lot of great ideas, so I'm very excited to play for him.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Brett Podgorski scored three goals and added an assist as the Toledo Cherokee took a 4-2 win over the Jets last Friday night at Lakeland Arena, ruining Quenneville's coaching debut with the Jets.
Kyle Downey and Carter Reid scored the Jets' goals, while Kameron Limburg stopped 20 shots between the pipes.
Saturday night, a balanced scoring attack led the Jets past the Michigan Mountain Cats by a 3-2 score at the Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser.
Cooper McLean, Travis Baranoski and Zach Kopinski scored to lead the Jets' offense and give Quenneville his first win since taking over the team last week.
Trevor Kalinowski took the win in net with a 30-save outing.
For the Mountain Cats, Max Vance and Abram Prince scored and Kevin O'Shea made 37 saves in goal.
“I think we had a decent weekend,” Metro captain Josh Beleski said. “It was tough because Coach Justin runs a different system and we only had a week to prepare, but we were a lot better on our power play and penalty kill last weekend. I also thought we did a better job of getting more pucks on the net. I still think we have a lot more to show, though, and we will continue to get better.”
The Jets (5-4-1) are now idle until this weekend when they host the Wisconsin Whalers Saturday night at 7:50 p.m. and then Sunday at 11:50 a.m. at Lakeland Arena.
With the hiring of Quenneville, the past three Jets’ head coaches have all hailed from Canada – Quenneville is from Montreal, Cirone is a Toronto native and Jamie Hayden called Saskatoon, Sask., home.
Jon Cooper, who led the Jets to the 2002 national Junior B championship and is now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is from Prince George, B.C.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
After making his NHL debut last season with the Washington Capitals to become the first Jets’ alum to play in the NHL, defenseman Steven Oleksy figures to be a major component of the Washington blue line this season after cracking the opening night roster.
Oleksy, a 27-year-old Chesterfield native, scored a goal with eight assists for nine points last season to go along with 33 penalty minutes.