Joining the United States Premier Hockey League’s Premier Division from a prior Tier-3 league got the Metro Jets thinking this past spring.
The Jets held their Main Tryout Camp over the June 29-30 weekend, and having the early summer camp was a little different tack than the team had taken in the past.
“Typically, we held a pre-draft camp [in spring] and then a main camp later in the summer,” said general manager/head coach Justin Quenneville. “We had the opportunity to do something midsummer, and we didn’t know what to expect. The turnout was huge, and it’s extremely difficult at our level to make some decisions. We will be making those decisions to help develop players and reach even more college commitments.”
It wasn’t just a camp for new players, either. The Metro Jets brought in team veterans eligible to return, but there were no guarantees.
“We wanted to keep that main camp mindset at tryouts. We may not look to bring all [eligible returning players] back, but we wanted to give them all an opportunity to return,” Quenneville added.
Some will officially return, already having signed contracts for the 2018-19 season. This includes Rhett Limback, a ‘98 from Alpena, Mich. In addition to last year with the Jets, Limback had also played for his hometown Alpena Flyers of the USPHL’s former USP3 Division in 2016-17. With the Jets last season, he scored 30 points in 35 games.
“He was instrumental down the stretch for us [in 2017-18]. He is a two-way player who brings veteran leadership,” added Quenneville.
Three other core forwards of last year’s team are also back -- Anthony Cinato (’00, Warren, Mich.), Jeremy Schwartz (’98, Detroit), Brodie Thornton (’99, Macomber Township, Mich.) and Brandon Graham (’98, Clawson, Mich.) -- as well as goalie Brian Tallieu (’98, Davison, Mich.)
“Brian was a huge reason for our success, and he’s looking to play his 20-year-old season and reach a college commitment early in the season,” Quenneville added.
There are a few eligible returning players who won’t be back, as they’ve moved on to Tier-2 hockey. This group includes Kyle Gierman, Matt Schaumberger, Reggie Millette and Jhuwon Davis.
Being so new to the USPHL as the Jets are, they are still looking to build their affiliation relationship with the NCDC Boston Junior Bruins.
“The timing of the camp was important for us to host it in June, and we’ll look to do more creative things for next summer,” Quenneville added.
Richie Greene and Alec Curry Calling Midwest Home For The 18/19 Season
The Midwest Blackbirds have added two key components to their lineup. Richie Greene and Alec Curry will play integral roles in the Blackbird's quest for success. Greene, who hails from Cedar Lake Indiana, is a big power forward who is just coming off a decorated career at Lake Central High School. Curry, the Bloomington, Indiana native, was well sought after and chose the Blackbirds to continue his Junior career. “I make no bones about it, I wanted both players in our program”, stated the ecstatic Head Coach Brian Bell.
Both players are difference makers and will be counted on heavily to produce as well as to provide leadership both on and off the ice. Greene too was sought after but decided to hone his skills in front of his home town fans. “This is a great kid who has a big future if he applies himself and I have already seen what he brings to the table. He is feisty, has speed, and can open up the ice for his projected line mate Curry. Alec has great offensive prowess and sees the ice well. He has a great shot and can move in and out of traffic at will. I am counting on them for offensive production and to spearhead the power-play”, added Bell.
Blackbirds add top Quebec dman....Zacharie Goulet who hails from Sorel Quebec will be showing his prowess in a Blackbird uniform next season.He is a quick,smart defenseman who will be a top 4 dman said Coach Brian Bell.Zac brings big time speed and hockey IQ to our back core.I will be counting on him to produce offensively and he will be used in key situations.Goulet has a 97 average and aspires to play college hockey while getting his education to be a doctor.We could not be happier to have a player of his diversity and character in our program said Bell.