JANESVILLE – The Janesville Jets are pleased to announce that defenseman Ian Janco has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Bemidji State University Beavers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
Janco (6’1/190) is finishing his third and final season in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). With 16 points in 36 games this year, he has already passed his career scoring mark of 13 set his rookie season. His plus-26 mark leads all Jets skaters, and is behind only Minot’s Blake Lizotte (plus-27) and Lone Star’s Sebastian Vidmar (plus-30) for the league’s best.
Janco, a native of Bloomington, Minnesota, has played over 150 NAHL games. The majority of those he played in California and Texas, with the Fresno Monsters and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, before coming to Janesville. Next year he will move back to the state of hockey to play even closer to home.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in Minnesota,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played my home games there, and my parents will for sure appreciate it. They’ll get to watch a lot more of my games.”
At the start of the season, Janco’s teammates chose him as one of Janesville’s three alternate captains. Jets head coach Joe Dibble recognized Janco’s leadership as one of his defining qualities.
“Janco’s one of those guys who does everything hard,” said Dibble, who is in his third season with the Jets. “He leads by example in games and in practices. When he shoots the puck, he tries to shoot it through the wall. When he hits someone, he tries to put them through the wall.”
Janco also identifies his work ethic as something that might have attracted Bemidji.
“It’s a big honor to be able to go to a school like that,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working hard for them.”
Bemidji State is coming off an unexpected North Star College Cup Championship, beating Minnesota Duluth and top-ranked Minnesota State for the title. Janco will become the second former Jet on the Beavers roster, joining Ruslan Pedan, who committed in December of 2012.
Earning his way onto a D-I program was a huge checkmark on this season’s to-do list for Janco.
“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” he said. “Next year I’m taken care of. Now we can get back to taking care of business here and bringing the [Robertson] Cup to Janesville.”
If the Robertson Cup is Janco’s goal, he’s going to battle for it. For an idea of how dedicated a worker he is, just ask his head coach.
“Janco has shown our younger guys that you can play Division I hockey as long as you never quit,” Dibble said. “Whether you get your deal at 16 years old, or at 20, like in Janco’s situation, it doesn’t matter. He’s a prime example of a guy who has never given up on his dream. Janco is one of those guys who wasn’t willing to give up on that Division I goal. He fought and he worked for it, and now he’s achieved it.”
Janco is the seventh player of the 2014-2015 Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Grant Hutton (Miami University), Nicolas Erb-Ekholm (Alaska-Anchorage), Kyle Patava (Air Force), Cullen Munson (Army), Mitch Fossier (Maine), and Drew Callin (Bentley).