Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Defenseman Hillman looking to expand role with Jets
Hillman, the Jets’ top draft pick (third overall) in the 2011 North American 3 Hockey League draft, signed a tender to return to Waterford next season. He also has the option of playing midget hockey for Compuware, but junior hockey with Metro is where Hillman feels he can most improve his overall game.
“I didn’t have to really put much thought into signing the tender,” said Hillman, an 18-year-old from Beverly Hills. “I played games with the team last year, so I knew they had a winning mindset. Having some of the defense from last year leaving the team means I could step up this year and be the shutdown defenseman they look to in all situations.”
Even after making the jump from AAA hockey with the Detroit Falcons (pictured) to the Jets a year ago, Hillman realized it can take some time to adjust to the new style of game.
“I learned there is a big difference,” said Hillman, who tallied two assists in his time with the Jets in 2011-12. “The size of the guys and their skill and speed is all a big step up. I just have to continue training and working on my game for the upcoming season. Last year was a good experience for me. (Jets’ head coach) Jason (Cirone) taught me a lot and so did a lot of the older guys.”
Recently, the NA3HL has sent numerous players on to higher levels of hockey, including the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and even college hockey.
Hillman wants his name on that list a year from now.
”My expectations for me are what all kids want, to just keep moving up the junior ranks into the USHL,” said Hillman. “Personally, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Ontario Hockey League someday.”
As for what he has listed as goals for next season, Hillman is succinct.
“From a team standpoint, I’m hoping to win a lot of games,” said Hillman, “And win a championship.”