Friday, December 2, 2011

Wlodkowski improving quietly, but in strides, for Jets

Tim Wlodkowski
may not show up on the score sheet on a game-by-game basis, but the little things he does far exceed goals and assists.

Wlodkowski does have a goal and three assists in 17 games thus far, but aside from that, statistics aren’t kept for the intangibles he brings to the table for the Metro Jets.

“He’s probably our most under-appreciated player,” said Jets head coach Jason Cirone. “He works hard and he does all the little things that help a team win. I don’t think he gets enough recognition for what he does, but I notice him and so does the rest of the team.”

Before his father’s job took the family down to Katy, Tex., Wlodkowski grew up in Michigan. His family still in the Lone Star State, he now lives in Riverview with his grandparents.

“I think it’s been a good season so far,” said the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Wlodkowski. “I think I keep improving each week and working harder. Before this season, I didn’t know a whole lot about the North American 3 Hockey League. I just knew that Jason was the coach of the Jets and that he was interested in having me play for him. It’s nice living with my grandparents, too, because I don’t really get to see them a lot, but now that I live there, I get to spend time with them.”

Wlodkowski, now 19, played high school hockey in Texas and initially got into hockey in Michigan watching his father play.

“My dad was my big influence growing up and his dedication to make me a better hockey player influenced me a lot,” said Wlodkowski.

Defenseman Adam Reid is also a Texas native with the Jets, a Georgetown native who grew up in Kalamazoo.

When told of Cirone’s “under-appreciated” comment, Wlodkowski felt a sense of humility.

“I feel as though that I keep improving each week and I just leave it all on the ice every game without complaining about anything because that’s just not the player I am,” he said. “And the shifts I do get, I make sure I give it all I got.”

In the model of hard work paying off, Wlodkowski said his short-term goal this season is to “get some time in the NAHL and be up there for good next season.”

After that, Wlodkowski is eyeing college hockey.


With a full roster, despite injuries to key players like Jake Schlacht and Zach Schlacht and Tim Perks nearing his season debut, Cirone said changes may be coming shortly to the Jets’ roster.

“I think what our problem is right now is that we have a lot of good hockey players that I’m trying to find a lot of ice time for,” Cirone said. “I think we’re going to have to make a couple moves in the next few weeks to move some bodies and get some guys some playing time elsewhere.”

Goalie Ethan Loo (Raleigh, N.C.) was released last weekend. He had not seen game action this year. Williams is expected to be in Waterford the rest of the season after dressing for several games recently as a backup for the Otters.


Jon Cooper, the head coach of the 2002 Jets’ Silver Cup Junior B national championship team, is currently in his second season as head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Prior to joining the Admirals, Cooper led the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers to a USHL championship in 2010 and the NAHL’s St. Louis Bandits to two straight NAHL titles in 2007 and 2008.

Cooper has also spent time behind the bench internationally, most recently serving as the assistant coach for the USA U-18 team that competed in the 2008 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He won a silver medal as head coach of the USA U-17 team that participated in the 2007 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic and was named a finalist for the 2007 United States Olympic Committee’s Development Coach of the Year.

Cooper’s assistant coach in Norfolk, Mike Flanagan, was formerly coach and GM of the Grand Rapids Jr. Owls (now the Battle Creek Jr. Revolution) in the NA3HL (then known as the Central States Hockey League).

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