By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), have signed defenseman Chase Blackmun to a tender contract, securing his services for the 2017-18 season.
A tender is a contract a team offers a prospect to reserve his rights for the upcoming NAHL season. When a player signs a tender, his rights belong to that team within the NAHL, and he may not be recruited or drafted by any other member club. Each team is granted 10 tenders, which became active on November 1, and which they can either use on a prospect or trade to another NAHL club.
Blackmun (6-0/185) is a ’99 defenseman currently playing for Hudson High School in Hudson, Wisconsin.
“We believe he’s one of the most talented defensemen to come out of Wisconsin in the last five years,” said Jets assistant coach Kyle Forte. “His hockey IQ and the way he reads the game is absolutely phenomenal. He’s a great character kid.”
Blackmun also plays a “before-after” split season with Team Wisconsin.
“We like to have strong roots with the state of Wisconsin,” said Jets assistant coach Kyle Forte. “Chase is another product of the good development you see from the state, from the program of Team Wisconsin, and from Hudson.”
Through 20 games in TW’s first half, Blackmun registered three goals and seven assists for 10 points.
“Last season we played in the elite league, which was very high paced,” said Blackmun. “We played Shattuck [St. Mary’s] and the six different Minnesota teams, so that really helped me get used to a fast-paced game. TW has definitely helped me get used to a higher pace with lots of skill around me.”
Last week, Blackmun was invited to Janesville to play a game as an affiliate player in a Wednesday showdown against Austin. He finished the game with two shots on goal and as a +1. Blackmun said that visit, and head coach Joe Dibble’s team culture, cemented his decision.
“After talking to Mr. Dibble, I knew he was the next coach I wanted to play for,” he said. “He was very welcoming and very understanding about me wanting to play for my high school this year. All the guys on the team told me they love it there and that this is the best place to play in the North American Hockey League. After playing a game and after seeing everything about the program, I definitely knew Janesville was the spot for me.”
After watching his game, Forte, who leads the team’s defensemen, agrees on the good fit.
“He played very well for us in that affiliate game,” Forte said. “He made good, quick decisions, was dynamic offensively, and responsible defensively. He’s a great puck-moving defenseman.”
Blackmun, a self-identified puck-moving defenseman, will graduate in the spring, and has his sights set on a state championship before coming to Janesville.
“I just really wanted to stay in my community and represent Hudson,” Blackmun said of the opportunity to play elsewhere. “I love it here. Last year we came close to a championship when we lost in the final, and it’s been our goal to make it back there and make sure we win it this year. It’s been fun playing for my school and my city.”
Blackmun is the second tender the Jets have used this season, after securing the services of forward Nick Bink earlier in the week.
“The guys loved him right away,” Forte said. “He fit right into our culture and fit right into the room. When he left, the guys were giving him hugs and saying ‘we’ll see you soon.’”
After a weekend trip to Springfield, the Jets return to the Janesville Ice Arena next Friday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. for a series versus the Minnesota Magicians. Ticket packages and group rates are still available by contacting the Jets ticket office at (608) 752-JETS. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).
— JANESVILLE JETS —