By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Adrian Holesinsky has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Maine Black Bears of Hockey East.
Holesinsky’s commitment, coming on the day of teammate Jakov Novak’s (Bentley), is the fourth in five weeks for the Jets. Before Christmas break, fellow forwards Chris Dodero (American International) and Cole Paskus (UMass Lowell) secured their commitments.
Holesinsky (6-0, 181), a ’96 forward from Slovakia, has been a huge part of an explosive Jets offense, and, prior to missing some time with a wrist injury, was on pace to shatter Jets offensive records. His 1.3 points per game, over a full 60-game season, would have yielded 78 points, beating Zach Lavalle’s mark of 61 set two seasons ago.
“It’s tough to compare Adrian to anybody who’s been here the last five years,” said Jets head coach and general manager Joe Dibble, who scouted Holesinsky at College Hockey Sweden, a high level showcase drawing players from all over Europe. “His skill set is so elite, and he’s able to slow the game down so well to a pace he wants to make plays at. I haven’t seen anything like that, not just in Janesville but in the entire North American Hockey League.”
Dibble pointed to a recent success story in the NAHL to describe Holesinsky’s talents.
“One of the kids I bring up when talking about Adrian is Todd Burgess, who was in Fairbanks last year. He had that ability offensively as well, and I’d put Holesinsky up in that category with him on the offensive side of things.”
Burgess, who reamed opposing goaltenders with 38 goals and 95 points in a full 60-game season last year, finished a Robertson Cup Champion. The Philadelphia Flyers selected him in the fourth round, 103rd overall in last June’s NHL Entry Draft.
In 53 games throughout two seasons with Janesville, Holesinsky has scored 20 goals and added 45 assists for 65 points. Though his skill dazzles and his offensive production pops off the page, it’s Holesinsky’s constantly improving two-way game that he attributes to having earned him his commitment.
“The Jets coaches have done everything for me,” Holesinsky said. “When I came to [the] USA, I barely spoke English, I played a one-way, European style of game, and I needed someone to take over and see that I found my way. Coach Dibble has played that role for me. He has been very understanding while I worked through my language barrier and was patient while I learned the North American style of hockey. I’m very appreciative of everything Coach Dibble, [former assistant] Coach [Cody] Campbell, and Coach [Kyle] Forte have done for me over the past year. I would also like to thank the Jets owners, fans, my teammates, and my billets for everything they have done for me.”
At Maine, Holesinsky will join former Jet Mitch Fossier, currently third among freshmen in Hockey East with eight goals. The Black Bears boast more than 50 alumni who have played in the NHL, including Stanley Cup winners Scott Darling (Chicago, 2015), Jimmy Howard (Detroit, 2008), Dustin Penner (Anaheim, 2007), and John Tortorella (coach, Tampa Bay, 2004). Holesinsky said he chose Maine because of its tradition and habit of advancing their players to the pro ranks.
“If you look at the list of players that played at Maine who went on to play in the NHL, you’ll see a lot of guys who had long careers, and even some All Star guys like Paul Kariya,” said Holesinsky, referring to the 400-goal former NHLer. “Along with that, I think the school is a good fit academically and I felt very comfortable around the coaching staff when they came out to visit me here in Janesville.”
Holesinsky and Novak announced their commitments publicly just hours before last Saturday’s win over rival Coulee Region. As a team dedicated to one another, that was a huge spark at a pivotal moment, said Dibble.
“Last weekend, we had more than 100 points out of our lineup with injury,” he said. “So it was a great opportunity for our younger guys to step in and take a bigger role. Then we get news that two teammates get their D-I commitments right before the game. That sends a pretty big buzz into that locker room. Everybody stepped up. It helped us start the game off the right way. You might have noticed that extra bit of buzz on the ice for the Jets.”
Asked about the curious timing of the two commitments, Dibble pointed to a reason Janesville has celebrated so many in the last few years.
“That’s been the message from Day One: there’s never one commitment when it happens. Sure, on paper, people see “Adrian Holesinsky Commits to Maine,” or “Cole Paskus Commits to UMass Lowell,” but everyone in that locker room deserves a piece of that commitment. Everybody has a part in it. One guy gets it, but everyone helped make it happen.”
Holesinsky becomes the eighth player of the 2016-17 Janesville Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Jakov Novak (Bentley), Chris Dodero (American International), Cole Paskus (UMass Lowell), Colin Felix (UMass Amherst), Jack Gates (Colorado College), Michael Maloney (Brown University), and Joey Abate (Wisconsin).
Contact the Janesville Jets’ front office at (608) 752-JETS, or go to www.janesvillejets.com for the regular season schedule, ticket information, and sponsorship opportunities. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).
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