Friday, July 8, 2011

Burns to continue career at Lindenwood University

WATERFORD, MI – This time a year ago, Tommy Burns thought his hockey career was over after a bout with mononucleosis shelved him for the entire 2009-2010 season.

After a summer filled with workouts and skating, Burns earned a spot up front with the Metro Jets and after a solid season in 2010-2011, will skate for Lindenwood University in suburban St. Louis this fall.

Burns becomes the second Jets player this offseason to commit to play college hockey after Justin Bennett, who will play for Concordia University this fall.

“A little over halfway through the season, Lindenwood contacted (Metro head coach) Jason (Cirone) telling him that they were interested in me,” said Burns, a 20-year-old native of Pinckney, Mich. “From that point on, I was in contact with them and after the season, I went to meet the coaches and check out the school.”

Lindenwood is coached by former NHL defenseman Rick Zombo and the Lions play in Division I of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

“From visiting the school, I found out quite a bit of information,” explained Burns. “They offer a lot of different majors, which is good because I still have not decided what I want to major in. The campus was also very nice out there and all my classes are a close distance from each other. As for the hockey program, it looks like they have a great coaching staff and a very skilled and disciplined team as they have won two national championships in the last three years.”

Last season with the Jets, Burns finished fourth in team scoring with 16 goals and 33 points in 42 games and led the team with nine power-play goals and four game-winning goals. He started the year with the Flint Jr. Generals, playing one game before being acquired by Metro.

“Playing for the Jets helped me more then anything,” said Burns. “If I would not have played for the Jets, I would not be answering these questions right now.”

He also said the level of play in the North American 3 Hockey League was better than expected.

“Being that last year was my first and only year in the league, I felt it was very competitive,” Burns said. “I feel like the league will continue to keep moving more players on to where they want to go as long as they are dedicated.”

Looking ahead to Lindenwood, Burns is anxious to get his college career underway.

“My goal for hockey this year is to come onto the team and become an impact player fast,” Burns said. “I know that there is going to be a jump in the level of play from last year, but with hard work I know I will be able to make that adjustment quickly. I hope that I will have a role that can help them to another national championship. As for school, I would like to maintain a high GPA and figure out what I would like to major in.”

Photo by Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jets' draft pick Theut may wind up in NAHL

WATERFORD, MI – Jacob Theut was drafted in the fifth round of last month’s North American 3 Hockey League draft by the Metro Jets, but the team brass isn’t counting on Theut tending goal at Lakeland Arena.

Simply put, Theut (pronounced ‘TOYT’) was the best goaltender available when the Jets selected 68th overall, but should most likely play next season in the North American Hockey League with the Kenai River Brown Bears after the Alaskan squad tabbed him in the seventh round of its draft a week prior to the 3HL draft.

That’s not to say plans may get tweaked between now and the start of the 2011-2012 season and Theut knows that. He also knows what his options are going forward.

“It’s an honor to be drafted by any team in any league, especially by a local team like the Jets,” said Theut, who played last year for Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School and was named to the “Dream Team” and earned First Team All-State honors. “The Jets told me that they were going to draft me, but were uncertain on what round. The coaching staff has been really patient with me and has been encouraging me to play at higher levels. Any player should consider themselves lucky to able to play with the Jets, a team with a very experienced coaching staff.”

A hybrid goalie with a very athletic style, Theut models his game after three NHL legends and hopes to keep improving on a daily basis.

“I’m an athletic goalie like Dominik Hasek and I admire Patrick Roy for his focus and positioning,” explained Theut. “I model my off-ice characteristics after Steve Yzerman with his great leadership and his strong work ethic. My game hasn't plateaued yet, but I know I am getting better, stronger and smarter each year. With the help of (personal goalie coach and Jets’ goalie coach) Randy Wilson, he is helping prepare me for the next levels.”

“My short-term goal right now is to sign with a junior team. My goal for after juniors is to be playing Division I college hockey.”

Whether or not Theut’s path to college runs through Waterford remains to be seen, however.

Photo courtesy BC Photography