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Trio of Jets goalies developing, learning, improving with MJDP Team

By Matt Mackinder, 02/01/19, 1:15PM EST


FRASER, Mich. – For three Metro Jets goaltenders, getting the opportunity to learn and develop this season with the club’s MJDP Team has been a benefit.

Brendan Forsman, Cole Friedman and Michael Paul chose to wear Jets colors this year and all have taken strides with the USPHL team since late August.

Forsman, an 18-year-old from New Baltimore, said he’s been on skates since he was eight and the last 10 years have been “a pretty long road” to get to the Jets.

“I started out at the house level and was a player-goalie,” said Forsman. “Eventually, I just stuck to the goalie position mainly because I looked up to Chris Osgood as a role model. I played for the Michigan Travelers 2000 team that ended up turning into the Metro Jr. Jets 16U team when the Jets organization took over Fraser. Every year I played travel hockey, our team workouts were held at the MAT. I’ve known (Jets associate head coach) Jamie (Lovell) from all the years of going to the MAT and I happened to ask him last year when tryouts for the junior team were. 

“I ended up going to the tryouts and pushing myself as hard as I could to make the team and now, I’m here. I wanted to play for the Jets the second I knew about them and I definitely bought in to the organization right away after hearing about what they have to offer.”

Playing for the Jets has also made Forsman appreciate all the organization has to offer.

“One of the most notable things about the Jets organization is that our coaching staff is very diverse – each coach played a different position,” Forsman said. “We have a gym that we can use pretty much whenever we want and an arena that I’ve heard people call a mini Joe Louis Arena since it’s on the older side, but it’s still pretty nice for our level of junior hockey. As a goalie, it’s fascinating to hear that we have a full-time goalie coach (Randy Wilson) who played pro hockey and even coaches pros like Connor Hellebuyck. As a side note, during training camp this year, Hellebuyck was actually on the ice with Randy before us almost every day, which was exciting to watch.”

Moving forward, Forsman has simple expectations.

“For the rest of the season, I want to keep working on developing good habits and getting rid of the bad ones, along with trying to build on my confidence,” said Forsman. “It’s been a pretty tough transition year from travel to junior hockey.”

Friedman is another player that is familiar with Fraser Hockeyland from his youth days.

“Throughout my childhood, it's always been instilled in me to set goals,” said Friedman, a 17-year-old Rochester native. “I played four years of travel hockey for the Icehawks out of Fraser, all the while watching the growing success from the Jets kind of from a distance. Playing hockey at the highest level has always been my goal, so when I saw the Jets camp advertised, along with hearing about the team from a couple former teammate of mine, I decided to jump at the opportunity to be on the ice with players and coaches who had such a large reputation and were just coming off a championship season.”

Like Forsman, Friedman relishes the chance to work with Wilson on a daily basis.

“Every day showing up to the rink, I really just try to be a sponge as far as just trying to learn and absorb as much information as I possibly can,” Friedman said. “Obviously, there's days where I learn some tough lessons, but just the opportunity to have Randy working with us goalies specifically every day as well as Jamie and ‘Q’ (Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville), it's a pretty incredible learning experience. 

“As for the organization as a whole, I mean obviously the success is only the tip of the iceberg. What people don't really see is the fact that, as players, we are treated so well. Q, Jamie and Randy are always pouring out information, so naturally it's easy to buy in. Really, I mean, it's easy to come to work every day when you like the people around you, and you love what you're doing, so really that's just the environment that's set up, and basically is set up from Day 1.”

Paul, a 19-year-old product of St. Clair Shores, was part of last season’s national championship team and is another former Jr. Jet.

“Going into my age-out year of travel hockey, I knew I needed more,” said Paul. “Junior hockey is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, and there was no better place than the Metro Jets. The Jets had all the benefits I could ask for – the coaches, the gym, our video sessions, all with the luxury of living at home. After a long season of hard work and training both mentally and physically, it was an easy decision to decide to come back so I can keep improving my game every day.”

Coming to the rink is easy when surrounded by immense positivity, according to Paul.

“The Jets organization provides endless opportunities to improve each day,” he said. “Having coaches you can trust and rely on is very important to any player. Having a full-time goalie coach makes a huge impact for the whole team. The organization also providing the MAT with the help of our trainer is a big plus to help strengthen, condition, and keep their players healthy. 

“The atmosphere around the locker room couldn’t be better, and it’s just another reason why I look forward to waking up every morning and playing the game I love.”

Wilson said working with the three young goalies this season has had challenges, but he’s proud to see how far Forsman, Friedman and Paul have come.

“This season, coaching the goaltenders with our two Jets teams has provided me the opportunity to test and challenge the positional disciplines of each goalie,” said Wilson. “Considering that this is my second season working with Michael, it has been very rewarding to witness his growth and development. Last year, his inexperience stifled his proficiency. However, his work ethic and retention of instruction have really allowed him to develop as a competitive junior goalie. For me, it's gratifying to see the growth in his game.

“With Cole and Brendan, both are young goalies new to junior hockey and the pace of their development is naturally slower than older, more experienced goalies. Having said that, both have shown growth in their individual positional understanding. As individuals, I believe that both have improved technically, but more importantly have increased their situational awareness and understanding. For some, recognizing their progression might be difficult, but for any experienced goalie coach, it’s very easy to identify.”