Friday, June 29, 2012

NA3HL announces 2012-13 regular season schedule

NA3HL Press Release 

The North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) has announced the release of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule.

Entering its third full season as the 3HL, the league is one of six USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior leagues and serves as one of the top training grounds in the country by providing the best coaching, exposure and developmental vehicles available for student-athletes in its classification. This past season, close 100 3HL players made commitments to play at the next levels of junior or college hockey.

View the 2012-13 3HL Regular Season Schedule  [.pdf]

Each of the 17 teams in the league's three divisions - the Central, East and West - will play 48 regular season games.

The regular season will commence on September 8, 2012 and conclude on March 10, 2013.

 In 2012-13, the 3HL will hold two, league-wide Showcase Tournaments, in which all 17 teams will be in one location to play four regular season games. The first 3HL Showcase will be held from November 30-December 3, 2012 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. The second 3HL Showcase will be held from February 17-20, 2013 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Mich.

Details and a schedule for the 2013 3HL Top Prospects Tournament will be announced on a future date. The 2013 3HL Silver Cup Championship Tournament, which crowns the 3HL’s playoff champion, will be held from March 27-31, 2013 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Ill.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jets' first-ever tender Hellebuyck drafted by Winnipeg

PITTSBURGH – Two goaltenders that played in the North American Hockey League last season were selected at the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday at the CONSOL Energy Center and one has ties to the Metro Jets.

Connor Hellebuyck, a 19-year-old Commerce Township native taken in the fifth round (13oth overall) by the Winnipeg Jets, played last year for the Odessa (Tex.) Jackalopes after being the Jets’ first-ever tendered player during the spring of 2011.

Hellebuyck’s older brother, Chris, played for Metro last season and also saw action in Odessa late in the year.

“I was literally speechless when it happened because I was texting with one of my teammates and watching the draft on TV,” Connor Hellebuyck told “They went to commercial and during that time I got a text that congratulated me on being a Jet. They came back from commercial and there was my name on the screen.

“It’s surreal. I’ve had a mile-wide smile on my face since the pick, it’s still on and I can’t get it off. I did a lot of interviews with teams, but the Jets really upped their interest in the past few days. I had a pretty good inkling it’d be them.”

Hellebuyck was dominant in the South Division in his lone NAHL campaign, leading the league in appearances (53), minutes played (3,084) and total saves (1695).

“Playing all those games in one year is exactly what I needed,” said Hellebuyck. “The Jackalopes really gave me a chance. They set me up for success and with the amazing coaching and the support and work of the professional staff, thanks to them, I really couldn’t fail.”

Hellebuyck was coming off his first season in the NAHL in which he won both goaltender and rookie of the year awards and also committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Corpus Christi goalie Anthony Stolarz was drafted in the second round (45th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perks still not 100 percent, but anxious for new season

WATERFORD, MI – Tim Perks came to the Metro Jets last year as a highly-touted prospect that put up solid numbers at Oxford High School during the 2010-11 season.

Even after a torn ACL sidelined him just prior to last season, Perks didn’t sulk. Instead, he stayed with the Jets all season and went through extensive rehab to help heal his bum knee.

“Sitting out for a season was brutal, especially my first shot at junior hockey,” said Perks, who was drafted by Metro in the fourth round (52nd overall) of the 2011 NA3HL draft. “A lot of people told me it was a setback, but I thought it more as an opportunity to improve my game in all aspects and see hockey in a new perspective. I had some rough moments, but I needed to keep focus to make sure I have a positive comeback."

While he’s still not 100 percent, the Jets offered Perks a tender for this coming season and the 19-year-old signed it without hesitation.

”The docs and therapist said it’s a year-long recovery,” Perks said. “I’m cleared for contact, so I need to make sure I’m not doing anything stupid and focus on recovering. I haven’t played a true hockey game for a team in over a year. I couldn’t be more excited at this point to just be able to play hockey again.”

Oxford High School is getting a reputation for advancing kids on to juniors and college hockey. Perks said that playing for the Wildcats didn’t feel like a typical after-school activity.

”They have a great hockey program and each year, I always hear something new and exciting,” said Perks, who graduated from OHS in 2011. “I believe they love having fun, teaching the kids and making great memories. (Coaches) Dave (Hague) and Rick (Ignagni) treat you like adults and bring in some junior hockey mentality into the program, which helped me out a lot. I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from that group of guys.”

Perks, who describes himself as a “talented forward who has finesse, but plays physical with a chip on my shoulder,” said he’s anxious for the 2012-13 season to get underway.

“I personally expect a lot out of myself,” said Perks. “I have talent and a good work ethic and there is no reason for me to fall behind even if I have missed a year.”

NA3HL announces 2012-13 division alignment

NA3HL Press Release 

The North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) has announced its teams and divisional alignment for the 2012-13 season.

The 17-team league will be divided into three divisions (Central, East and West) spanning seven states.

 The Central Division will be the only division with five teams: the Battle Creek Revolution, Peoria Mustangs, Quad City Jr. Flames, Queen City Steam and St. Louis Jr. Blues.

The East Division will feature six teams: the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks, Flint Jr. Generals, Metro Jets, Michigan Mountain Cats, Three Rivers Vengeance (formerly the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins) and Toledo Cherokee.

In the West Division, six teams will compete: the Alexandria Blizzard, Breezy Point North Stars, Granite City Lumberjacks, Minnesota Flying Aces, North Iowa Bulls and Twin City Steel.

The 2012-13 regular-season schedule and 2013 3HL Silver Cup playoff format will be announced on a future date.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kelley signs with Dubuque of USHL, but 'work doesn't stop here'

WATERFORD, MI – Dillon Kelley got a taste of the United States Hockey League at the tail-end of last year, but next season, the former Metro Jets’ goalie will enjoy more than just a taste as he has made the preliminary 30-man roster of the Dubuque Fighting Saints for the 2012-13 season.

Kelley, an 18-year-old Petoskey native, played one period in goal for Dubuque on April 13 against the Chicago Steel after being signed as an emergency backup the day before. He played well, but suffered the defeat in that game.

“I am looking forward to the move to the USHL and to Dubuque,” said Kelley, who lived in Clarkston last season with his mother after moving from northern Michigan to play in the North American 3 Hockey League. “It is a great town and I feel I am going to enjoy my stay there. I plan to continue working hard day in and day out to keep improving.”

Kelley came to the Jets last year penciled-in as the No. 2 goalie behind Devin Williams, but once Williams signed with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, Kelley stepped up to assume the starter’s role and never looked back.

“When Dillon came to us last year, it was a big step for him,” said Jets’ coach Jason Cirone. “To his credit, though, he worked to get himself in shape and took advantage of every opportunity that came his way. (Kelley’s goalie coach) Randy Wilson did a lot for Dillon and I think by him going straight to the USHL, it shows just how good he is and how far he’s come.

“That being said, can Dillon use this opportunity to possibly earn a Division I scholarship? I would hope so, but it’s hard to know how kids react when they get to higher levels. I’m happy that he’s going to Dubuque, but he’s only got one foot in the door right now. It’s up to Dillon to continue to prepare for any role Dubuque may want him to play. He could be their No. 1 or he could be a No. 3. That’s the nature of the business. Only time will tell.”

“I wouldn't be here without Randy,” added Kelley. “He's helped me get here from the beginning to end. From talking to the coaches at Dubuque to making me the goalie I am today, I owe him a lot of credit.”

 Last year with the Jets, Kelley posted an 18-8-1 record with three shutouts, a 3.62 goals-against average and a .891 save percentage. He became just the third Metro player in team history to suit up for a USHL game, following Aaron McCloy (Danville) and Eric Ehn (Green Bay).

Knowing all he has right now is a roster spot with the Fighting Saints, Kelley realizes this is only the beginning.

“The work doesn't stop here,” said Kelley. “I feel ready for the USHL and am excited to see what the future holds.”


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ex-Metro coach Cooper leads Norfolk to AHL championship

AHL Press Release

TORONTO … The Norfolk Admirals completed a storybook 2011-12 season by capturing the franchise’s first Calder Cup championship with a 6-1 win over the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto on Saturday afternoon.

The Admirals, the top development team of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, finished off a four-game sweep of the Marlies in the Calder Cup Finals.

After completing the regular season with a professional hockey record 28-game winning streak, Norfolk went 15-3 in the postseason to finish with 70 victories in 94 games overall, including 43 in their final 46 games of the year.

2012 AHL MVP and Rookie of the Year Cory Conacher recorded four assists in the Game 4 clincher, while fellow 2012 AHL All-Rookie forward Tyler Johnson notched two goals and two assists and defenseman Mike Kostka scored twice.

Norfolk never trailed over its final two playoff series and finished the postseason with 10 consecutive wins, outscoring their opponents 34-7 during the streak.

Under second-year head coach Jon Cooper, who guided the Metro Jets to the 2002 Silver Cup Junior B national championship, the Admirals eliminated the Manchester Monarchs (3-1), Connecticut Whale (4-2) and St. John’s IceCaps (4-0) before defeating Toronto in the Finals.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gambino taken fifth overall to head up Jets' 2012 draft class

WATERFORD, MI – The Metro Jets selected 11 players in Tuesday night’s North American 3 Hockey League draft, with Livonia native Mike Gambino being tabbed in the first round with the fifth overall pick after a draft-day trade with the Quad City Jr. Flames.

The two teams swapped first-round picks, second-round picks and the Jr. Flames added Metro’s third-round pick and the Jets got Quad City’s fourth-round pick and 12th-round pick as well. Metro wound up with the fifth, 22nd, 57th and 193rd overall picks, while the Jr. Flames had the 11th, 28th and 45th overall choices in the early going.

Gambino, a forward who played last season for Livonia Churchill High School and was a Second Team All-State selection, is a player the Jets’ brass had watched all season.

Metro head coach Jason Cirone said that the team’s draft philosophy was to take the best player available and when the Jets had the opportunity to move up to No. 5, Gambino was who they had earmarked for their pick.

“We didn’t think Gambino would be there when we picked at No. 11 and he was the player we wanted,” said Cirone. “He’s highly-skilled and came from the same high school program Steve Klisz came from a year ago. I saw him play a couple times and I think he could play in the NAHL next season, but if not, he’ll have options with us and we’ll certainly do all we can to move him, as well as the rest of our players, to the next level.”

The Jets drafted 10 more players throughout the night – all Michigan-based players – with a breakdown of eight forwards, two defensemen and one goalie. The lone netminder, Traverse City West High School’s Mike Tilford, was a Second Team All-State player in 2011-12.

The rundown on the rest of the Metro draft picks, with comments from Cirone.

2nd round, 22nd overall, Zach MacKay, F, Detroit Falcons 18U 
“He came to our open camp last weekend and was the best player on the ice. He’s a good skater, works hard and plays a physical game.”

4th round, 57th overall, Anthony Saleh, F, Grosse Pointe North High School 
“North has been known for producing talented players over the years. I saw Anthony at the Trenton showcase this season and liked him the first time I saw him.”

5th round, 80th overall, Kyle King, D, Wyandotte Roosevelt High School 
“I have a good relationship with Roosevelt coach Mike Quint. King is also a guy I saw at the Trenton showcase and I think he can come in here and fill a role for us.”

6th round, 97th overall, Alex Jaeckle, D, Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School 
“Jaeckle was a kid (Jets’ head scout) Tim Ross really wanted. We trust the De La Salle program and they have sent many kids on to higher levels of hockey. Jaeckle has the size and speed we were looking for, too.”

7th round, 114th overall, Max Dubin, F, West Bloomfield High School 
“I saw Dubin play once – the morning of the draft. He is a very explosive player and plays the game at a very high speed.”

8th round, 131st overall, Mitch Rogowski, F, West Michigan Hounds 18U 
“This is a kid I’ve been tracking for three years, back to when I was with the (NAHL’s) Motor City Metal Jackets. He’s big and physical and should probably make an NAHL team, but if that doesn’t happen, we’d be happy to have him with us.”

9th round, 148th overall, Cody Jones, F, West Bloomfield High School 
“We saw him in our camp last weekend and he’s a big body who likes to shoot the puck.”

10th round, 165th overall, Ian Springfield, F, Michigan Ice Hawks Midget A 
“Springfield is a 1996 birthdate and is a big-bodied kid who can come in and fill a role. You can’t have your top two lines doing all the scoring and we feel Ian is a kid who is good around the net and will benefit from playing in our league for the next year or two.”

11th round, 182nd overall, Mike Tilford, G, Traverse City West High School 
Randy Wilson and Sean Clark recommended Tilford to us and one thing that Randy said is that the kid blocks pucks. That’s a good thing for a goalie, right? He’ll have a shot to play in the NAHL, but if you look at our track record in moving goalies on, I think he’d be a good fit as a Metro Jet.”

12th round, 193rd overall, James Tuljus, F, USA Eagles Midget 
“This kid practiced with us all of last year and did everything I asked of him. If I asked him to lay down on the ice in front of a slap shot, he’d do it. And he’s been skating with me twice a week with a broken wrist. He’s a good character guy who will be great for our locker room. You can never have too many guys like James Tuljus.”

Overall, Cirone said he was happy with the results of the draft.

“I think we had a successful draft and we got the players we wanted,” Cirone said. “I think we filled some needs and once all the NAHL camps sort themselves out, we’ll see what happens then, but right now, I’m excited about the players we got and to see how the season shakes out.”

The expansion Breezy Point (Minn.) North Stars had the first-overall pick and took Cleveland Barons 18U goalie Walker Enstad to open the draft.

Monday, June 4, 2012

NA3HL Draft slated for Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The 2012 North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) Entry Draft will be conducted online on Tuesday, June 5 at 6:00 p.m.

Draft results will be available by following @NA3HL on Twitter or at and the complete results by round/selection will be posted on at the conclusion of the draft.

There is no registration process to be eligible for the 3HL Entry Draft. Amateur players less than 21 years of age on December 31, 2012 who are not listed on an 3HL team roster or are listed on an 3HL team roster but played less than 10 3HL regular season and/or playoff games during the 2011-12 season and did not accept a tender from an 3HL team prior to the 2012 3HL Entry Draft are eligible for selection in the draft.

The 3HL Entry Draft shall consist of 12 rounds. Each eligible 3HL club shall be entitled to one selection per round unless it has acquired or lost selections due to approved trades with other 3HL clubs.

Eligible teams shall make selections in each round in reverse order of their finish in the 2011-12 3HL regular-season standings. New member clubs shall have their order of selection determined by lottery. If there is only one new member club, it shall have the first selection in each round.

2012 3HL Draft Order of Selection:
1. Breezy Point North Stars
2. Alexandria Blizzard
3. Battle Creek Jr. Revolution 4. Michigan Mountain Cats
5. Quad City Jr. Flames
6. Queen City Steam
7. Minnesota Flying Aces
8. Peoria Mustangs
9. Twin City Steel
10. Three Rivers Vengeance
11. Metro Jets 
12. North Iowa Bulls
13. Toledo Cherokee
14. St. Louis Jr. Blues
15. Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks
16. Granite City Lumberjacks
17. Flint Jr. Generals

For more information on the 3HL Entry Draft, visit