JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), have signed forwards Benji Eckerle and Trey Rooney to tender contracts, securing their 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.
Eckerle (5-10/163) is a ’99 forward from Northville, Michigan, and has 20 points in 22 games with his Little Caesars U18 team. He played U16 with the program last season, and played his midget hockey with Compuware. Eckerle becomes the first player the Jets have ever tendered straight from the Little Caesars program.
“Benji is an awesome human being,” said Jets assistant coach Kyle Forte. “He has a high ceiling with great offensive instincts and a very good hockey IQ. He’s dynamic on the puck and responsible in all 200 feet of the ice.”
Eckerle is the first tender Forte has signed in his NAHL career.
“As a first year coach in this league, it’s great to have your first tendered player be a guy like Benji,” Forte said. “I’m excited to see him continue to develop into a D-I athlete and I’m thrilled he’s choosing to do so in Janesville. He does everything well that we look for in a player. He comes back and makes plays with speed, he’s hard on pucks, and his hockey smarts will separate him from the pack at every level he plays.”
Rooney (5-10/181) is a ’98 forward currently finishing his first full season of junior hockey for the NA3HL’s Euless Jr. Stars. He spent the previous two years with the Armstrong/Cooper High co-op team in his hometown of Robbinsdale, Minnesota.
“Trey is a player we have a history with,” said Jets head coach and general manager Joe Dibble. “He skated with us a couple years ago when he was still in high school. We’ve been tracking him for a while and are excited about where his game is right now. He has developed a lot and we’re excited to bring him in. He plays a 200-foot game and still has the ability to create offense and be on stat sheets at the end of the night.”
After a week off, the Jets return to action next Tuesday for a Valentine’s Day visit to the Nelson Ice Arena as they take on the Springfield Jr. Blues, and follow up with an away-and-home series versus the Coulee Region Chill on Friday and Saturday. Tickets and group rates are still available for next Saturday’s game by visiting www.janesvillejets.com/tickets or by calling the Jets ticket office at (608) 752-JETS. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).