The Janesville Jets, members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are extremely proud to announce the commitment of Jake Merens to the Ohio State University! The ’06 forward has been a huge addition to the Jets’ offense this season. He has played in 27 games recording 14 goals and 8 assists for a points per game average of 0.81.
“I am humbled and honored to join The Ohio State Buckeyes,” stated Jake. “This journey has entailed a lot of hard work and sacrifice for me and my parents. I feel so blessed and supported by my friends, teammates, coaches, and advisors. To have an opportunity to do something I love, and simultaneously get an amazing education, has been my dream.
Like most hockey players, Jake grew up with the dream of playing NCAA Division 1 hockey. That dream is fast approaching with the news of Jake committing to Ohio State early Tuesday morning. Jake started playing hockey in Highland Park, Illinois at the age of five. Initially, his parents signed him up for gymnastics. It was a great way for a little boy to burn some energy out, however, Jake’s passion wasn’t in the gymnastics studio. He used to sneak over to the rink in the same building to watch the hockey players skate. It didn’t take long for his parents to notice and sign him up for ice skating lessons. After a few lessons, he was finally handed a hockey stick, and a true passion was born. Jake credits a lot of his success to his parents as without them, he would have never started playing hockey. “I want to send a heartfelt thank you to my parents for helping me immensely across my journey. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without them. I am also grateful for my friends, coaches, teammates, and the Janesville Jets who support me unconditionally. “
Jake’s first few years of youth hockey were spent with the Falcons Hockey Association in Highland Park. Once he became old enough for squirts he played with Team Illinois through Bantam Minor. Then wrapped up his youth hockey career with the Chicago Mission. A notable achievement for Jake is his selection to all three USA Hockey National Camps. Attending the USA Hockey 2021 PDC Boys Select 15, 2022 Boys Select 16, and the 2023 Boys 17 National Festival. These camps are comprised of the top players in the country in their respective birth years. In 2022, Jake was selected by the Fargo Force in Phase 1 Round 3 of the USHL Draft. In 2023, he was traded to the Muskegon Lumberjacks protected list for future considerations.
“Jake is a phenomenal young man with a very bright future ahead of him,” added Head Coach Joe Dibble “He is a person you can build an organization around. He does all the right things. 1st class human being that cares more about everyone else around him than he does himself.”
The Ohio State University is in Columbus, Ohio, and is a part of the Big Ten Conference. The Buckeyes hockey team was a founding member of the CCHA in 1971 before the Big Ten decided to sponsor men’s hockey in the 2013-14 season. The Buckeyes have a rich history appearing in ten NCAA Tournaments, two Frozen Four, two conference tournament championships, and two conference regular season championships. “The reputation of The Ohio State Buckeyes Division 1 Hockey and their educational system proceeds itself,” added Jake. “I was most impressed with the coaching staff and their genuine belief in my abilities on and off the ice. The campus and facilities were outstanding, and I can’t wait to play hockey in the Big Ten!”
The Buckeyes are led by Steve Rohlik. Steve is in his 11th season as head coach and has over 20 years of experience coaching at the Division 1 level. During his career has recruited and/or coached two Hobey Baker Award winners, 16 All-Americans, and more than 20 players who have reached the NHL.
“Jake is an exceptional talent on the ice,” added Head Coach Joe Dibble. “He plays the game at a very high pace and has the IQ and skill set to make plays all over the ice. He is a student of the game that is going to continue to grow as a player.”
Jake is the fourth player to commit to the NCAA D1 this season for the Jets. These are not surprising stats for a very talented team that currently sits in second place in the Midwest division. With over half the season completed the Jets and Jake Merens look to continue success in the second half. “I look forward to having a fantastic second half with my teammates, coaches, and trainers on and off the ice,” added Jake. “I also enjoy participating in community service projects with the Janesville Jets fans, as they cheer us on every night. In addition, I want this group to win The Robertson Cup!”