FRASER, Mich. – Will Augustine came to the Metro Jets this season looking to develop his game and become a better goaltender.
So far, so good.
A 17-year-old from Livonia, Augustine has seen his game improve under the tutelage of Jets assistant coach and goaltending guru Randy Wilson, a coach that regularly works with NHL goaltenders Connor Hellebuyck and Jack Campbell.
“Randy was in contact with my high school coach, Dan Phelps, over at Livonia Franklin,” said Augustine. “I ended up going to a couple practices with the Metro Jets and loved the tempo they brought to each of the skates I went to.
“This season, I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my game and working with Randy every day has really helped me become stronger and more consistent in my movements and decisions on the ice.”
On a team level, Augustine has enjoyed his time in Fraser.
“We’ve had our ups and downs and we have competed with the top teams in our division, including Pittsburgh and Lansing,” said Augustine. “As a team, we need to focus on putting a full 60-minute game together. We have great chemistry with all the guys and push each other to be better every day.”
Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said Augustine is a very likeable and very coachable player who is the typical “sponge” when it comes to digesting what the team is about development-wise.
“Will has come a long way for a player his age," said Quenneville. "He has the age, size and athleticism to keep developing up the ranks. He has had ups and downs this season, but one thing that has impressed us is how he has continued to absorb information. Randy has done a great job with our goalies again and you can see the results, especially with the development program team.”
“Considering he's an '01 birth year, Will's game has progressed nicely," added Wilson. "I'm especially pleased with the game maturity that he's shown recently. He is finely starting to display patience and instinctive reads in different attack situations that tells me his positional understanding is improving. He has an excellent attitude and has developed a higher degree of 'battle mentality' competitiveness in practice, which has carried over to his game play. I really believe that he has a huge upside and future in both junior and college hockey."
Before playing for the Jets, Augustine had heard of the program’s accomplishments and wanted to see what the team could offer him.
“I knew the team went undefeated (47-0-0 regular season in 2016-17) and won a national championship (2017-18) and has the reputation for being a team to fear throughout the league,” said Augustine. “I was able to practice with them a year prior to joining the team and knew they were very skilled players who came ready to give 110 percent every day, whether it be practice or game.
“The Jets organization provides so much for players like our own gym, amazing coaches for forwards, defense and goaltending. Our coaches put in lots of time daily to make sure we get instruction each day, helping all of us focus on those little details that give us advantages over other teams.”
Augustine said that he started skating when he was just four years old and the love for the game has never stopped.
“Watching my older cousins play with their high schools got me really into hockey and I knew I wanted to join them from the start,” said Augustine. “I played defense up until I was a Pee Wee and became a goalie after that, which was the best decision I could’ve made.”
Last season as a junior at Livonia Franklin, Augustine was the team captain, but “playing for the Metro Jets my senior year was a great opportunity to take my game to the next level.”
“This season, the accomplishment I have set for myself is to become stronger and more disciplined in the net,” said Augustine. “By doing so, I think that will allow for the team to take more chances up front to get a big goal when needed and be able to rely on me to make a big save when needed.
“My long-term goals for hockey and school are to eventually play for a college with a good hockey and business program. I want to take hockey to the most competitive state I can get myself to.”