FRASER, Mich. – Even after Robby Flannery signed a tender agreement with the Metro Jets prior to the 2015-16 season, he still knew nothing was going to be given to him.
More than a year and a half later and his contributions to the Jets have been immeasurable as he’s been a consistent force on the Metro blue line and has formed a top-two pairing this season with Dylan Naumovski.
“I came into camp last year pretty nervous, but excited,” said Flannery, a 19-year-old Lathrup Village native who played high school hockey for Berkley. “I kind of figured I’d make it after tendering, but there’s always a lingering doubt with a ‘what if’ scenario.”
Flannery has seven goals and 23 points in 22 games this year after registering four goals and 18 points as a rookie with Metro last season.
“It was actually a pretty easy decision to come back after last year,” said Flannery. “After the year we had last season, losing in the Silver Cup National Championship finals, and knowing the returning group we had, it was a pretty easy call.”
It’s that camaraderie within the Jets organization that was also enticing to Flannery, who was called up to the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues last week.
“Last year’s team was a great group of guys and there were so many veterans that were able to kind of show the rookies the ropes,” Flannery said. “It’s kind of the same this year, more rookies this year I believe, but still a lot of veteran guys returned and it’s a great locker room atmosphere. Graham Day being my stall mate and Jake Gleason, Cam Schwartz and Jason Recchia being right across the room from me, it’s so much fun showing up to the rink every day.”
On the ice, Flannery and Naumovski have been nothing short of solid and consistent.
“It’s awesome playing with the guys from last year, especially on defense,” said Flannery. “We’re for the most part already on the same page and it makes communication a lot easier, too, which is so vital out on the ice. Playing with ‘Nemo’ as a ‘D’ partner this year is also great because we’re so familiar with each other out on the ice.”
“’Flanny’ has come a long way since last season,” Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said. “He has developed into quite the offensive threat on the blue line. He has the ability to release the puck with the best of them, but his awareness on the ice has really elevated his game. He is deserving of this opportunity with Springfield and we wish him the best of luck.”
Flannery, who admitted his fashionable mustache makes him stand out, is more about buying in to the systems the Metro coaching staff brings to the rink.
“The staff has meant so much to the development of my game,” said Flannery. “’Q,’ Jamie (Lovell) and Randy (Wilson) have so much experience in the game of hockey. They’ve really helped me develop my game, taking it to the next level. They’re willing to go the extra mile for all of the guys on the team and everyone in the locker room sees that. That’s another thing that makes it so easy to come to the rink every day.”
Knowing his future is in his own hands, Flannery’s plans going forward are just as simple as his game on the blue line.
“Short term, I don’t really want to change much,” said Flannery. “I think just keep having fun with it and focusing on the next game ahead of us. Long term, I’d love to continue playing hockey into college if given that opportunity and I’d love to play hockey as long as possible and keep living the dream.”
This Saturday night is the Jets’ annual Teddy Bear Toss and both games will feature the team’s annual toy drive. All toys collected will be donated to local children’s charities.