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Metro youngster Dziegelewski developing skill set, overcoming challenges

By Matt Mackinder, 01/29/19, 11:00AM EST


FRASER, Mich. – Jaylen Dziegelewski got a taste of the Metro Jets last season and then joined the team on a full-time basis this season.

And the 18-year-old Casco native has been a mainstay in the lineup all year, contributing solid play and timely goals, including an overtime winner back in October over Pittsburgh.

“I loved it last year and I believe it was the right fit this year, too,” Dziegelewski said. “I believe we have what it takes to win it all again this year. We have a great schedule being on the ice every day and playing for coaches who work on habits and are there to improve your game.

“Metro is such a great atmosphere. All the players are there for each other with coaches that want to move the players to the next level.”

Dziegelewski is also part of a group of former Jr. Jets playing for the junior team this season, joining fellow forwards Anthony Cinato, Brandon Graham, Jeremy Schwartz and Brodie Thornton.

“It’s great,” said Dziegelewski. “I feel like playing with them comes a lot easier already knowing them and knowing how each other plays on the ice. That builds better support off the ice, too.”

Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said the difference between last season and this season with Dziegelewski has been night and day.

“Jay made an impression on us last year at one of our tryout camps,” Quenneville said. “Even though he was young, you can tell there was raw talent in his game. With young players, there are always transition hurdles from youth to junior hockey. He has worked his way through those challenges and continuing to develop his skill set. He’s been more consistent with his play lately and hopefully, that trend continues for him down the stretch.  

“He’s a valuable piece to the puzzle here and the goal is to find that same success at the next level as well.”

Growing up, Dziegelewski won a national championship with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies. He’s been on skates since he was six years old.

“I was addicted to watching hockey on TV and it got me started playing,” said Dziegelewski. “My goal is to win it all this year with my brothers.”

In the future, Dziegelewski wants to play Tier II hockey with an eye on playing NCAA hockey if the opportunity presents itself.