By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – Defenseman Adam Roeder will lead the Janesville Jets as captain in their eighth season of play in the North American Hockey League, head coach Joe Dibble announced last week at an exclusive event for season ticket holders.
Second-year veterans Cole Paskus and Lordanthony Grissom will serve as alternate captains.
Roeder, who returns this year for his third season in the North American Hockey League, focused on his roles as guide and motivator when asked about his leadership style.
“I’ve been here for a couple years and I know how Coach Dibble wants the team to act,” said the St. Louis native. “I know the system we run and why it works. Rookies, and even second-year guys, can sometimes forget defensive zone or neutral zone assignments, and a third-year guy like me, who knows them backwards and forwards, can help guys out.”
After playing a little more than half the season as a rookie, Roeder took a significant step forward last season, playing in 51 games and scoring 6 goals on 16 points, and improving defensively.
“Roeder has always had a tremendous amount of skill,” said Dibble. “I think last year you started to see him tightening the screws defensively as he started to mature. Now as a third-year player in the North American Hockey League, he’s starting to step up and be the leader of this hockey team. He’s got the full support of the locker room.”
Roeder, who joined the Jets from the NA3HL’s St. Louis Jr. Blues, said he has learned the most from former Jets captains Alex Smith and Drew Callin.
“I’d say Alex Smith is up there as the number one captain I’ve played for,” Roeder said. “That guy had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever played with. He was as hard on himself as he was on us. He knew how to get us back in high spirits if we were down on ourselves. I’m definitely going to take what he taught me into this year.”
Smith, the NAHL’s 2015-16 Community Service Award winner, finished his three-year Jets career with 72 points in 118 career games, first all-time among Jets defensemen. Callin, a center who served as captain during the record-breaking 2014-15 season, now plays at Bentley University.
“Alex and Drew were two totally different captains,” said Roeder. “Alex was more of a serious guy who would grind guys and get on you. Drew was more laid back and relied more on showing his leadership on the ice. He could joke around with the guys and knew how to become best friends with everybody.”
While Roeder hopes to strike a balance between the leadership styles of Smith and Callin, he acknowledged the importance of other guiding voices in the locker room.
“Grissom and Paskus are going to be huge this year, for sure,” he said. “[Cullen] Munson and [Charlie] Parker, too. They know how to lead teams. Munson is another year three guy and Parker has been in the USHL. They both know what it takes. Munson works his tail off night in and night out, and Parker has experience from all over junior hockey. I have a lot of respect for those guys and I have to say they’re going to be leaders as well.
“I would also say [Michael] Maloney and [Peter] Bates,” continued Roeder. “Those two together feed off of each other. When one’s having a good game, you know the other is going to, too. They love getting the boys going. Even though guys like those don’t have letters on their chest, they’re guys I look to as leaders who we can all lean on.”
For someone who sees so many leaders on his team, it should be no surprise to hear such a resounding team endorsement from Roeder. The captain offered nothing but optimism on this year’s roster.
“This is definitely the closest group I’ve ever been with,” he said. “I’ve been on two great teams here in Janesville, but I’ve never been on a team this close coming out of training camp. For this team, the sky is the limit. I think we could not only win our division, but we could break our 100-point record. Our team is that good. Two years ago we had a really skilled team that made it to the semi-finals against the [Minnesota] Wilderness, but this team is just as skilled and probably closer-knit. We have the skill and the leadership to go all the way and bring a Robby Cup to Janesville.”
Full of optimism for a new year, Roeder and the Jets will debut this Friday night against the Minnesota Wilderness.
Contact the Janesville Jets’ front office at (608) 752-JETS, or go to www.janesvillejets.com for the regular season schedule, season ticket information, and sponsorship opportunities. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).
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