The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Cade Destefani has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Western Michigan University Broncos of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
“Committing to play college hockey is something I have always dreamed about growing up,” Destefani said. “Ever since I was a kid I loved going to college games and always hoped I would one day have the opportunity to play at that level.”
Destefani’s commitment is the fifth for the Jets this season, and the fifth under head coach Parker Burgess.
Cade has only been in Janesville for one season, but made an immediate impact. In his first two games with the Jets, Destefani scored seven points (4G/3A) and was named the NAHL Midwest Division Star of the Week. Another five point weekend earned him the award again on November 23, and he was eventually named the NAHL Forward of the Month for November 2020.
The Bedford, N.H. native has not slowed down since then. In his 18 games so far he has registered 10 goals and 12 assists for a team-leading 22 points. Cade ranks 21st in the NAHL in points, with at least three fewer games played than any skater above him. He is also the second-best scorer in the Midwest Division.
“Cade’s commitment to Western Michigan is well-deserved and we couldn’t be more proud of this achievement. He came into camp, put the work in, and has earned everything that has come his way this season,” a statement from head coach Parker Burgess and associate head coach Lennie Childs said. “Western Michigan is a top-tier program with a great staff. Cade will continue to develop there while playing in the NCHC. It’s a perfect fit for both the school and for him.”
Cade is the third player in Jets history to commit to Western Michigan, along with Carson Vance (2013-14) and Dawson DiPietro (2015-16). Vance played two seasons with the Broncos, and DiPietro suited up for 105 games and tallied 88 points. DiPietro signed a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres at the conclusion of his senior year in 2020.
Western Michigan has experienced a solid rebuild under head coach Andy Murray, who is currently in his 10th season. Murray has led the Broncos to two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012 and 2017 and a CCHA Tournament championship in 2012.
“I chose Western Michigan because the coaching staff and the hockey program are first class,” Destefani said. “Being able to play in arguably the best conference in college hockey, the NCHC, it was a pretty easy decision.”
Destefani’s journey in junior hockey, and particularly Janesville, has not been long, but filled with plenty of lessons he’ll take with him to the next level.
“Playing for the Jets has really been an awesome experience for me. Having the best teammates and coaches has been really great and I have learned so much from all of them,” Destefani said. “Being here has taught me that you need to work hard every day and get out of your comfort zone, and the results will come as long as you are patient.”