COLUMBUS, Ohio – Three former players with the Metro Jets hoisted the Murdoch Cup Tuesday night after winning the ACHA Division I national championship with Adrian College.
Forwards Cooper McLean and Michael Tratar and defenseman Josh Hosking helped the Bulldogs to an 8-1 win over the University of Illinois at the Ice Haus.
“It's the best feeling in the world and to be a part of the first group in program history to win nationals makes it even better for sure,” said Hosking, who skated for the Jets in two different stints during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. “Playing for Metro, you got used to the everyday grind and playing against better players every single day, just like it is here at Adrian.”
Hosking ends his college career on a high note, while McLean, a junior, and Tratar, a sophomore, want to stay atop the mountain next season.
“The feeling is definitely indescribable,” said McLean, a Jet from 2013-15. “To be honest, it hasn't really set in it yet because this is what all 29 of us worked our whole lives for, and it finally happened. Couldn't be happier to have done with the guys on this team.”
“Words can’t explain the joy of being able to call ourselves national champions,” said Tratar, who played for the Jets in 2015-16. “It’s something you work so hard toward and to finally accomplish it is incredible. Most players never get to experience this feeling so for the most part, I’m very grateful for everything that’s happened and for my teammates.”
And while all three ex-Jets were never all on the same Metro team at the same time, there was always that bond between the trio.
“It's funny, but Josh, ‘Trats’ and I always talk about this,” McLean said. “Our time with Metro helped us fit in to a system that demanded success, just like ‘Q’ (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville) demands with the Jets. ‘Q’ prepared us to battle day in and day out whether it be practice, games or even off ice, and I think that's what the culture has become here at Adrian and it couldn't have been a better transition from the Jets to here.”
“My time in Metro was huge toward preparing for college,” added Tratar. “Coach Q had already been through the college hockey experience, so when it came to preparing players for the vast differences in college hockey and junior hockey, there weren’t any surprises when I got here.”
Coming out of junior hockey, Hosking, McLean and Tratar all had NCAA Division III options, but all chose the ACHA route – and success followed.
“Saying NCAA D-III and ACHA are comparable is a little stretch, but obviously, your top NCAA D-III teams are very good compared to us and the rest of the ACHA, but I think we would definitely compete with a lot of the teams for sure,” said McLean. “I will say, though, that if I could go back and choose between NCAA and ACHA again, I wouldn't change anything.”
Tratar is in agreement.
“In some aspects, they definitely are comparable,” said Tratar. “I believe the biggest difference is just the speed of the game. But that’s every level of hockey, the higher you go the faster the game gets. With that being said, I heard nothing but bad things about the ACHA before I came to Adrian, but in the past two years I have nothing but good things to say about it. They do a great job attracting players to the league and now with the new NAIA league, they can now give out scholarships to club players, which will just attract even more players to come play in the ACHA.”
Former Jets goalie Austin Kane (2015-16) was part of Hope College's ACHA Division III national championship as well.
Photo/For the Love of the Game Photography
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