FRASER, Mich. – Dylan Tegtmeyer moved away from his Fort Wayne, Ind., home last year to fine-tune his game with the Metro Jets with hopes in getting a college hockey opportunity.
He did – and now he’s heading back home to play for Indiana Tech University.
“Coach (Frank) DiCristofaro spoke with me at the showcase in Chicago,” said Tegtmeyer, a 1999 birth year forward who will join fellow Jets graduate Brady Hanson with the Warriors. “We had previously spoken before during my senior year of high school. I’m looking forward to joining the Indiana Tech hockey program and feel very fortunate to be going to such a high-quality program, which happens to be in Fort Wayne.
“It’s nice to go full circle and return to play in my hometown in front of my friends and family. I’d like to thank Coach Q (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) for guiding me through the college process and pointing me to the organization that fits me best. I’m unsure what role I will play at Tech, but whatever it is, I will embrace it and be the best I can at it.”
In the classroom, Tegtmeyer said he’s undecided on a major.
Last season with the MJDP, Tegtmeyer posted two goals and three points in 23 games. He missed significant time with a broken hand suffered in the season opener in Chicago that required surgery.
“It is certainly not the way I had envisioned my starting season with the Jets organization, and I was extremely disappointed,” Tegtmeyer. “However, you have to make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in, and so I continued with any training I was able to do throughout my recovery. I’m pleased with where I was able to end my season with the Jets, and grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a player with the team.”
“The Jets rounded out my game by helping me to refine and build upon areas with which I had struggled in the past. This includes systems and learning to use my frame in a more efficient way. They also gave me the tools on and off the ice to become a well-rounded, complete player.”
Quenneville was enamored with the way Tegtmeyer dealt with adversity throughout the season.
“It’s bittersweet to see Dylan commit to Indiana Tech after everything he has been through,” said Quenneville. “He had a not-so-pleasant experience with his first junior team out east two years ago, then opted to come play for us here and invest in himself. Unfortunately for him, he got hurt early, but at no point did he complain or lay down. He came to work every day and did everything he could to be more than ready when it was time. He is coachable, works hard every day, wants to better himself in every sense, and ultimately a big reason why he finished successfully here.
“He was approached by several schools and he took his time to navigate through the options. He picked a good one with ITU, and we wish him nothing but the best of luck.”
After his up-and-down season, Tegtmeyer was certainly not short on people to thank.
“I would like to thank the Jets coaching staff – Coach Q, (associate head coach) Jamie Lovell and (assistant coaches) Dan Pszenyczny and Randy Wilson – for helping me achieve my goal of playing college hockey,” said Tegtmeyer. “I’d like to thank my teammates for always pushing me to be better, and my family for their support and the sacrifices they’ve made for me to pursue my dream.
“I also want to say ‘thank you’ to my billet family Rob and Meagan Smoyer for opening up their home to me.”
Since the beginning of June, Tegtmeyer has been skating as much as possible at his home rink and continuing his off-ice training and conditioning workouts. He said he will also enjoy the rest of summer with family and friends and working at the rink as a hockey instructor.
Two fun and fast-paced days of hockey came to a close with the end of the 2020 NCDC Detroit Combine, which was held July 30-31 at Fraser Hockeyland in Fraser, Mich., home of the Metro Jets.
The Combine featured 160 players ranging in birth years from 2000 to 2004. The Combine, originally scheduled for April 12-13, was twice postponed due to Covid-19 concerns. The USPHL followed all state and federal health regulations in holding the event, with the utmost focus and priority being on the health of all attendees.
The Combine had representation from coaches with teams at all levels of the USPHL. There was also an informational session held featuring League Office personnel as well as the host team’s head coach and event organizer Justin Quenneville of the Metro Jets. Players and parents alike were introduced to and educated on the USPHL’s multi-tiered development model and its success in placing players in college hockey. Last year, more than 1,200 USPHL alumni were active in college hockey, with roughly 400 earning NCAA athletic and academic awards.
“It was very impressive, the level of talent was very good,” said Dave Peters, the NCDC Deputy Commissioner. “There was a lot of skill on the ice, a good pace to games, and it was a good opportunity for players at both the NCDC and Premier to evaluate players.
“The hosts have done an outstanding job, with all that’s going on with the pandemic, all the changes we’ve had to make, and with all the protocols and requirements that were put in. People are able to maintain social distancing, everybody has a mask on. We’ve had to change the dates and change the location of Chicago, but the League Office and the teams hosting have done a really good job of making the adjustments and making this work.”
“For me, it’s been fun being the host but it’s definitely a team effort,” said Quenneville. “From the League down, I really appreciate the support. I’m very fortunate to have a cast here to make this event very professional and very safe. It’s very fortunate that the League is willing to invest in coming out here and showcasing other options out here for players.”
The event had representatives from nearly half of the NCDC, as well as a large portion of the USPHL Premier. Cody Murphy is the head coach of the first-year Elmira Jr. Enforcers, and commented on how both 2020 Combines, including the aforementioned Chicago Combine (June 13-14 in Dyer, Ind.)
“It’s huge for us to see all the different prospects that come from here and a lot of guys who are sleepers,” he said. “We’re thankful that the USPHL puts on these Combines.”
“I love these Combines,” added Mike Stanaway, Head Coach of the New York Aviators. “It gives kids an opportunity to come in and really see what our league is all about and they get the opportunity to meet coaches from different divisions. From a coaching standpoint, it’s great. You’re getting a good cross-section of kids and the quality is fantastic here.”
FRASER, Mich. – Coming to the Metro Jets with three years of junior hockey experience under his belt, Jack Mueller figures to be an impact player when he takes his spot on the blue line in September.
As a 2000 birth year, the 2020-21 USPHL season will be Mueller’s last in junior hockey, but one that he feels could be the most rewarding.
“My advisor knows Coach Q (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) and both had been in contact with each other,” said Mueller, a native of Sandusky, Ohio. “I was able to skate with some of the guys and see firsthand how they operate. I plan on finishing a strong last year of juniors and using that momentum to play four solid years of college hockey.”
The Jets are coming off a season that saw players make nine NCAA commitments and 17 total college commitments. Mueller looks to join that list of players and take advantage of the Jets’ platform.
Last season, Mueller skated for two teams in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, putting up 11 assists in 49 games.
Quenneville has done his homework on Mueller and knows what he’s getting for the upcoming season.
“The hockey world is small, and we are fortunate that other great programs, coaches and hockey people are willing to guide players here because of our model,” said Quenneville. “We took the time to find out more about Jack and had several discussions about helping him get in front of more schools. Jack will not only benefit from this environment but will work to invest in himself this season. His junior experience will benefit him as he is a very driven player.
“We were impressed with his abilities and instincts on and off the puck. He does a lot of things well on the ice, and I know teams will have a hard time playing against him. We look forward to working with him and helping find the best college opportunity for him."
Mueller noted that he couldn’t be happier signing with the Jets and is excited to see what lies ahead.
“The Jets are notorious for not only success during the season in the win column, but also in the ability to move players to the next level, whether it’s higher-level junior or college,” said Mueller. “Metro’s resume is beyond impressive for moving players to college. Scouts and coaches come to Metro looking for their next wave of talented players and good men.
“I have three prior years of junior experience along with an incredible urge to battle and compete to get better every day.”