Thursday, April 19, 2012

Former Jets' forward Elliott commits to D-III St. Mary's

WATERFORD, MI – When Jonathon Elliott moved on from the Metro Jets in 2010 to play for the Cumberland Grads of the Central Canada Hockey League, an opportunity to play college hockey was what Elliott hoped he could gain from playing in the Ottawa area.

This week, Elliott officially committed to St. Mary’s University, a Division III school in Winona, Minn., that plays in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“The opportunity to play for St. Mary's came up unexpectedly, actually,” said Elliott, a 21-year-old Birmingham native who was second in Jets’ scoring in 2009-10 with 15 goals and 26 points. “I had a friend who had spoken to them last winter and he spoke very highly of the school. I did some research and realized that I liked what the school had to offer academically and athletically, so I sent the coaching staff there an email expressing my interest and immediately, they responded in a positive way.”

Not only did the coaches return an email, they traveled to Ottawa over the holidays to see Elliott play in a CCHL showcase event.

“The coaching staff said they liked how I had played and I talked briefly with them,” Elliott explained. “We continued contact until the latter part of the season when the school had granted them money to make another trip to Ottawa. I had a chance to sit down one-on-one and talk to the head coach, Bill Moore, at this time. I recently returned from my visit with a great feeling, pushing me to be comfortable with my commitment to the university.

“Although it may seem small to many people (enrollment is only 1,200), as it did to me at first, there is so much opportunity for you to succeed at this school, especially academically. The small classes give you one-on-one time with teachers who truly care about your success in the real world.”

Elliott plans to pursue double major in sports management and marketing at St. Mary’s.

The past two seasons in Cumberland, Elliott skated in 124 games and scored 29 goals and 46 assists for 75 points. More than points and stats, though, was the experience Elliott went through north of the border.

”My time in Cumberland was amazing,” said Elliott, who played high school hockey at Brother Rice, graduating in 2009. “The amount of great people I met and the opportunity they gave me I will be forever thankful for. It was a different atmosphere playing way up there, but having family around the area, I knew what to expect somewhat. Hockey is the main thing up there and if you’re playing juniors, whether in the Ontario Hockey League or the CCHL all the way down to minor hockey, you live by the rink and are supported by everyone who loves the game.”

During his one season in Waterford, Elliott said he learned about what it took to be a junior hockey player and how to prepare to play the game at a high level.

“My season with the Jets helped me in maturing more than anything,” said Elliott. “It made me realize that you have to come to work at the rink everyday. There are no days off in juniors and especially not at the college level with the shortened schedule.”

Before he steps on the ice at the SMU Ice Arena next fall, Elliott knows there a few aspects to his game that need to be rounded-out this offseason.

“I need to continue to get bigger and stronger,” Elliott said. “The main thing from a hockey standpoint, though, would be my first three strides from standing still. My whole life I’ve had a little trouble with that, but then again, in the game of hockey you can always find something to improve on.

”Next season, I want to be a go-to guy. I don’t want to be seen as just a freshman on the team. I want to be seen as someone everyone can count on to get the job done.”

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