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Veteran defender Jake Aslanian re-signs with Metro Jets, eyeing NCAA opportunity

By Matt Mackinder, 06/27/20, 4:00PM EDT

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FRASER, Mich. – Jake Aslanian has had a goal of playing NCAA hockey since he came to the Metro Jets prior to the 2018-19 season.

After recently signing with the club for his final season of junior hockey eligibility, the 2000-born Trenton, Mich., native wants to be part of a winning team and an organization that continues to churn out college-caliber players.

“I enjoy playing at Metro,” Aslanian said. “They have helped me grow as a player and helped me mature along the way. I’ve been wanting to play NCAA hockey, so I felt like it was right to come back for another year to improve and showcase what I can do with Metro. Everybody knows how many players they move on.

“Overall, I feel like my whole game has improved and it’s hard to pick one little thing when you have great coaching that gives you great things to learn and work on. If I had to pick one part of my game that has improved, I’d say it’s is my confidence and just being comfortable, not to forcing anything when I have the puck.”

Last season, the stalwart defenseman logged three goals and 21 points in 39 games, bettering his total of 16 points in 43 games from the year prior with the MJDP team.

Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville has seen Aslanian’s game go from raw to that of a veteran reliable player who can be on the ice in all situations.

“It has been rewarding to see Jake continue to improve his game and develop,” Quenneville said. “He is committed to learning what it takes to get to the collegiate level, and we know he will bring the same energy this year to want to elevate his game once again. He has a big frame and a big shot, and we look forward to working with him again."

“Being a returning player last season, I know he put a lot of pressure on himself to be the best player on the ice and sometimes got caught trying to do too much, which cost him at times,” added Jets associate head coach Jamie Lovell. “I think he matured as the season went on and he became a dominant player, as was evident in his last game of the playoffs where he almost singlehandedly brought the team back into the game in the third and forced OT with a hat trick against Decatur. 

“He has that ability and we expect the same coming into this year only now, he has another year of experience and I can’t wait to see where we can bring his game to and ultimately get him to his goal of playing college hockey at the school of his choice.”

Aslanian noted that the platforms that the Jets organization provides its players is second to none.

“I believe what is most appealing about playing here is how successful they are every season,” Aslanian said. “They have a good team and compete with the best around, which translates to helping kids move up and play and be successful at the next level.”

As a veteran player, Aslanian wants to go out on a high note.

“My role is just to be a leader and to help the guys have a good time and be comfortable with each other, on and off the ice,” said Aslanian. “Last year definitely ended rough. We thought we could make it to nationals with the DP team and we definitely had what it took, but it left me feeling motivated for this year and just helped me push towards my goal.”

With July right around the corner, Aslanian isn’t letting up on getting prepared for the upcoming season.

“My plans for the summer were ruined because of the virus, but I’ve been making up for it,” Aslanian said. “I’ve been going rollerblading, working out at home, and stick handling and shooting. I’m still going to attend the NCDC Combine (at Fraser Hockeyland) in July, too.”

Photo/Jilleen Hays