By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Blake Weyrick has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Canisius College Golden Griffins of the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC).
Weyrick, a 20-year-old product of Shattuck St. Mary’s and the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, was quick to credit the Jets’ coaching staff on his commitment.
“Coach [Dibble] has done so much for me,” said the native of Malibu, California. “The whole coaching staff, really, last year’s and this year’s. Janesville is another home to me. It’s really special to be able to play here and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me and the opportunities they’ve given me. I’m very grateful.”
Weyrick joined the Jets in December of 2014 and immediately became a pivotal part of a record-setting tandem with Matt Jurusik, current starter for the Wisconsin Badgers. In 12 games last year, Weyrick posted a 9-1-1 record in front of a 2.4 goals against average (GAA) and a .907 save percentage. This year, Weyrick has stepped into a different role in what has become a “1A” and “1B” system, winning 10 of his 17 starts with an improved .914 save percentage.
“When you only have two guys in one position, it’s tough to find two Division I goalies on one hockey team, especially two sharing the net,” said Jets head coach and general manager Joe Dibble. “With these two, when you look at them as a one-two punch, they’re an extremely good tandem to have.”
“The most attractive thing about Weyrick as a player is his experience,” said Jets assistant coach Cody Campbell, who tended goal for the USHL’s Fargo Force and Cedar Rapids Roughriders before playing in the AHC with Niagara. “He has international experience, which is invaluable. Sometimes it might go a little unnoticed, but when scouts started doing their digging and doing their homework, they probably saw all the experience Blake has racked up over his junior career, and that’s something that makes him very valuable to a program.”
The Canisius Golden Griffins play in the HarborCenter of Buffalo, New York. Head coach Dave Smith has held the reigns since 2005.
“He’s been there for a long time and has done very well with the program,” said Weyrick of Smith. “It’s an up-and-coming program, as well. It shows a lot when a coach is able to improve over the years and really build a program. That’s something I want to be a part of going forward.”
Asked what element of his game he’s most proud to bring to Buffalo, Weyrick, like most alumni of Joe Dibble’s Jets, pointed to his work ethic.
“It’s my day-to-day work ethic and compete level,” he said. “I can bring a lot of energy and help the team win some games.”
Weyrick will help the Golden Griffins try to recapture the magic of Canisius’ 2012-13 run, in which they captured a conference title and advanced to the NCAA tournament in front of goaltender Tony Capobianco, who played parts of this season with the Elmira Jackals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
“Canisius has always done a really good job with their goalies,” said Campbell. “Their last three goalies that have graduated, that have been their starters, they’ve gone on to play pro hockey, whether it’s in the ECHL, the AHL, or overseas. They have a good history and track record with that, and I think that’s something that was attractive to Blake when he was making this decision.”
As the Jets enter the home stretch of the regular season, commitment announcements begin to spike. Dibble, whose primary focus is always on player development, spoke on the personal importance of nailing down a commitment.
“Weyrick’s a kid who everybody in the room for the past two years would do anything to see him get what he just earned,” said Dibble. “Our team this year and our team last year has battled for him. It just goes to show the type of character we have in that room. I think, going forward, it’s going to be a big weight off of his shoulders. Now that he knows where he’s going to be playing hockey for the next four years, he can relax. I think we’re yet to see the best of Ricky.”
Weyrick becomes the ninth player of the 2015-16 Janesville Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Dawson DiPietro (Western Michigan), Shane Sellar (Dartmouth), Jack LaFontaine (Michigan), Nils Rygaard (Alaska-Anchorage), Martin Sundberg (Wisconsin), Kip Hoffmann (Alaska-Anchorage), Jack Gates (Colorado College), and Michael Maloney (Brown).
Contact the Janesville Jets’ front office at (608) 752-JETS, or go to www.janesvillejets.com for details on promotional nights and ticket information. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).
— JANESVILLE JETS —