FRASER, Mich. – Two current Metro Jets players had ties to the program before even joining the program.
Brayden Tayles and John Taylor are both rookies with the MJDP Team this season.
Tayles, an 18-year-old Waterford native, played youth hockey at Lakeland Arena, the home of the Jets from 1990-2015, while Taylor is an 18-year-old Fraser native – the first Fraser product to play for the team since the program relocated to Fraser Hockeyland prior to the 2015-16 season.
For Tayles, he always knew about the Jets and the rich tradition and history the program had.
“I grew up playing for the Lakeland Hawks and I would always see the Jets play,” Tayles said. “I also heard a lot of really great things through the Sereno family. I have known them almost ever since I was born and when I graduated, the whole family pushed me to the Jets organization. Last summer, I came to the MAT skates and attended the main camp and was lucky enough to get offered a contract.”
In his time with the Jets, Tayles has become enamored with the program.
“Coming to the rink every day and buying in every day is a really easy task for me,” said Tayles. “The Jets organization provides so much to a player looking to develop their game. We have access to the MAT every day, which provides anything a hockey player could need to improve their play. We have a great coaching staff with a huge diversity in coaching styles that allows each player to be impacted based off their own individual learning preferences. The coaches actually care about everyone that comes through the organization and that alone really makes you want to play your best hockey.
“The main thing that stands out, though, is the atmosphere. There are so many good guys that I have met from the beginning of the season and seeing that they have the same mindset and work ethic makes it really easy for me to buy in every day all while having fun.”
Moving forward, Tayles has set very attainable goals for himself.
“My short-term goals are to just keep pushing myself and focus on getting better every day by utilizing all the features of the rink, from the gym to the ample amounts of ice time we are supplied as players,” Tayles said. “I also want to get better by really digesting and understanding the information I am told by the coaching staff each day, on and off the ice. I try not to think about long-term goals for hockey too much. I just try to take it day by day. My only long-term goal in hockey is to play as long as I possibly can.”
Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said he’s pleased with how Tayles has improved this season.
“Brayden has come a long way from last spring and his contributions have shown up everywhere on the ice,” said Quenneville. “He’s become a reliable utility player and more importantly, a great teammate to all the players. He’s a positive kid, never complains, comes to work every day and is a trustworthy player. We look forward to continuing to see him develop.”
Off the ice, Tayles has aspirations to study engineering or architecture.
Taylor, who joined the team midway through the season, has added depth to the MJDP’s back end.
“I got on the team with (Jets assistant coach) Randy (Wilson’s) help and when I got here, the team was very welcoming,” Taylor said. “I just want to do whatever the team needs.
“We want to go far in the playoffs and hopefully, make it to nationals in Boston with the rest of the boys.”
Quenneville has seen Taylor’s team-first attitude be a major asset from Day 1.
“John was a good addition at the midway point of the season,” said Quenneville. “You can see him benefitting from our platform here and he’s eager to continue to learn. He’s a tenacious player and sticks his nose in plays every shift. In a day and age where players hesitate into physical confrontation or stutter into getting involved in plays, he attacks everything hard.”
Like Tayles, Taylor noticed quickly that the Jets have a winning tradition, which also includes player development.
“Something that makes the Jets stand out is that we win a lot of games,” said Taylor. “Our very unique style of play is what allows that to happen. If you buy in, good things will happen.”
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