FRASER, Mich. – It’s a perfect pun, but a veteran Metro Jets’ forward puts the “Vance” in “Player Advancements.”
Max Vance, that is.
The 20-year-old Berkley, Mich., product and Jets’ leading scorer during the 2014-15 NA3HL season, signed a tender Monday night with the North American Hockey League’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.
A tender is a contract that denotes a player’s commitment to that one NAHL team for next season and protects them from being drafted by any other team.
“I know a couple guys that play down there and they love it there,” Vance said. “I know the town (Hidalgo, Tex.) is very nice, too.”
Metro sent six players up to the NAHL during this past season in forwards Matt Dempsey (Keystone Ice Miners), Andrew Sawyer (Aberdeen Wings), Jason Newel (Aberdeen) and Kevin Shand (Springfield Jr. Blues), defenseman David Chavis II (Minnesota Wilderness) and goaltender Jake Stephan (Michigan Warriors).
In addition, forward Zach Koonce recently committed to ACHA Division I Oakland University for the 2015-16 season.
This past season, Vance scored 17 goals (tied for the team lead with Cooper McLean) among 50 points in 44 games after coming over in a summer 2014 trade from the Michigan Mountain Cats.
“He came a long way this season,” said Metro coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “He was a player that struck our attention when we played against him last year. When we had the opportunity to acquire him, we knew we were adding another element of offense to our lineup. He really came in with the right mentality and he applied himself early in the season, wanted to get better. He’s a coachable kid and he’s very deserving of an opportunity to move up.”
Vance said this year with the Jets did wonders for his development and he credits not only Quenneville, but Jets’ assistant coach Randy Wilson.
“This season playing for Q and Randy was the best thing to improve my game,” he said. “They are very smart at player development. To get ready for next season, I am skating with Q and also working out at the MAT (Michigan Athletic Training inside the Jets’ new arena, Fraser Hockeyland) with Q and Jamie (Lovell).”
Quenneville added that seeing Vance play in the NAHL is a situation that nearly came to fruition this past season.
“He almost had that chance a couple times with some teams to give him a look, but he was very committed to getting better here first and buying in to the process,” said Quenneville. “He’s going to love playing for (Killer Bees’ head coach) Joe Coombs, who is a great coach. I've known Joe for years and he’ll make an easy transition because of the similarity in philosophies."
“We wish Max the best of luck and that’s what this is about – seeing another Jet continue to move on and get the opportunity to move up.”