The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Tommy Middleton has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of St. Thomas Tommies of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
“It’s such an honor to commit to St. Thomas to play college hockey,” Middleton said. “It has been a dream of mine for longer than I can remember to play Division I hockey, and I’m so thankful for everyone that has helped me reach this goal.”
Middleton returned to Janesville in January after spending the 2019-20 campaign and part of this season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Since then, he’s suited up for seven games with the Jets and has tallied two goals and eight assists.
The forward, from Midland, Mich., played a total of 64 games with the Fighting Saints and posted 14 points.
In his rookie 2018-19 NAHL season, Middleton played 56 games in Janesville. He scored nine goals and added 14 assists for 25 total points.
Middleton’s commitment is the sixth for the Jets this season, the second in one week, and the sixth under head coach Parker Burgess.
“The Jets organization is thrilled for Tommy and his family with his recent commitment to St. Thomas. Tommy is a tremendous player and a high-character young man. He will help the Tommies create and build their culture as they become a Division I program,” a statement from Burgess and associate head coach Lennie Childs said. “Tommy has been working toward this goal for a long time and to see him get rewarded for this commitment to the game of hockey and his career is very fulfilling for all involved. It’s a perfect fit for both Tommy and St. Thomas!”
St. Thomas has become a popular destination for many Jets alumni, with five on its current roster: Logan Ommen, Anthony Szurlej, Vincent Weis, John Pesek and Jack Vincent.
Burgess also has deep ties to St. Thomas, where he played for three seasons and served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2011-2015.
St. Thomas will make the jump to Division I next season and bring the program’s historic prowess to the next level. The Tommies have the most wins of any Division III program with 1,164 in 96 seasons, have won six of the last nine regular season MIAC championships, and have made 17 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1984.
St. Thomas will join a conference of other solid programs in the newly-revived CCHA in the 2020-21 season: Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.
“The reason I committed to St. Thomas is that I really love what they are planning on building for their team. I’m so excited to be part of something that I think will be very special,” Middleton said. “And as far as the school, you couldn’t do any better with facilities and education.”
An age-out player this year, Middleton’s return to his Jets roots for his final junior season has been nothing short of exciting.
As he prepares for his next chapter, he hopes to keep learning and growing in the place it all started: Janesville.
“From my juniors experience, I hope to bring in maturity and work ethic for everything in my college career,” Middleton said. “Coach Parker and Coach Lennie have helped me a lot and continue to help me build leadership qualities and help me improve in all areas of my game that will be invaluable for my future at St. Thomas.”
2020-21 College Commitments
Shane Ott (F) – Niagara University, DI
Jordon Halverson (D) – University of St. Thomas, DI
Xavier Lapointe (D) – Rochester Institute of Technology, DI
Jake Sacratini (F) – American International College, DI
Cade Destefani (F) – Western Michigan University, DI
Tommy Middleton (F) – University of St. Thomas, DI