JANESVILLE, WI — The Janesville Jets have readded forward Cade Destefani, who will stay with the team for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Destefani, who played with the Jets in the 2020-21 season before being drafted in the 2021 USHL Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers, played 33 games with the Buccaneers this season and recorded three goals and nine assists. The New Hampshire native had an impressive campaign in his first year in Janesville and second in the NAHL; in 44 games, Destefani scored 23 goals and had 22 assists and was a +14 on the year. He added three points in three playoff games to round out his 2020-21 season.
On top of his statistical standouts, Destefani was also the recipient of the Midwest Star of the Week three times (Week of November 9, 2020, Week of November 23, 2020, Week of April 19-25, 2021) and was the NAHL Forward of the Month in November. Twelve points in six games backed Destefani to the monthly league award. He also committed to play Division I hockey with Western Michigan University in February of 2021.
“I’m so pumped to be back in Janesville,” said Destefani. “Being able to come back and see some of the guys from last year is awesome, and I think all the returning guys are ready to get some revenge and make a run in the playoffs.”
Destefani was, of course, an integral part of the Jets’ success last season, and while their run was cut short in the Robertson Cup Playoffs, his return to Janesville comes at a time when the playoff push has reached its peak intensity. Just four points out of the fourth playoff spot and back-to-back home series following a one-game match in Chippewa this weekend, it’s a great formula for success for the Jets.
Thirty-three games at the USHL level offer a plethora of benefits, and Destefani feels that that time in Des Moines will provide a big push as the season draws closer to the playoffs.
“Given my time with the Buccaneers and prior time here in Janesville, I feel I bring some great leadership, experience, and offense to the team going into the final stretch of games,” said Destefani. “Being in the USHL has a lot of upsides, and I really developed and learned to carry myself as a professional, and I know I’ll continue to do that and lead by example. We’ve got a great group, and I feel we can do great things.”
The Jets have 21 games remaining in the regular season, with seven against the in-state rival Chippewa Steel, who is also competing for the final playoff position. With a scoring talent in Destefani returning to an already high-powered offense, the Jets’ roster is one that can get the job done if it wasn’t already.
“We are very excited to get Cade back,” said Jets head coach Parker Burgess. “We’re very familiar with him as a player and person and are looking forward to what he will add to our dynamic on the ice and in the locker room.”
Destefani opened last season with a pair of goals in each of the first two games against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and finished the weekend with a total of seven points. Reunited with familiar faces will surely assist in easing him back into the Jets’ systems, and given his already-established ability in the attacking zone, he will pick up where he left off.
“Cade is a proven scorer and contributor,” said Burgess. “We believe in adding him as our final piece, we have positioned our group well for the final third of the season and into the playoffs.”
The Jets will have another one-game bout with the Chippewa Steel on Saturday before making their return home for consecutive weekends from the Janesville Ice Arena.
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