JANESVILLE, WI – Nine former Jets from six different Jets seasons will skate this summer at nine different NHL Prospect Development Camps, setting a new franchise record.
|PLAYER||POSITION||JETS YEARS||NHL CAMP||AFFILIATION|
|Alec McCrea||D||2011-12||Detroit Red Wings||Signed 1-year AHL contract (2019)|
|Grant Hutton||D||2014-15||New York Islanders||Signed 1-year NHL contract (2019)|
|Matt Jurusik||G||2014-15||Pittsburgh Penguins||Camp Invite|
|Zach Solow||F||2014-15||Florida Panthers||Camp Invite|
|Jack LaFontaine||G||2015-16||Carolina Hurricanes||Drafted (75th, 2016)|
|Dawson DiPietro||F||2016||Buffalo Sabres||Camp Invite|
|Colin Felix||D||2016-17||Philadelphia Flyers||Camp Invite|
|Jakov Novak||F||2016-18||Ottawa Senators||Drafted (188th, 2018)|
|Cole Brady||G||2018-19||New Jersey Devils||Drafted (127th, 2019)|
A native of El Cajon, California, McCrea (6-3/203) came to the Jets from the NAPHL California Titans 16U program. The ’95 defenseman skated in 50 games of the 2011-12 season, and advanced the following year to the USHL Waterloo Black Hawks. He played 180 total games over three seasons (2012-15) with Waterloo, the last as captain. McCrea played four years of Division I hockey at Cornell University, finishing in spring 2019. He helped his Big Red to the ECAC regular season title in his junior year, and collected individual honors along the way as the ECAC’s Best Defensive Defenseman. In April, he signed a one-year contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
Like McCrea, Hutton (6-3/205) is a ’95 defenseman who developed playing 16U in the NAPHL before making the jump to the NAHL. Hutton played most of two seasons with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays from 2012 to 2014, also appearing in 24 USHL contest between the Indiana Ice and the Tri-City Storm. He began the 2014-15 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers before landing with the Jets, where he committed to Miami University. Also like McCrea, he played four seasons of NCAA Division I hockey. Hutton captained the Redhawks in 2018-19 before becoming the first former Jet to sign an NHL contract. He appeared in 14 games (nine regular season, five playoffs) with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, to finish their season.
The 2014-15 Jets set new NAHL records for wins (49), points (100), and fewest goals allowed (114). The rookie goalie, a ’97 from Chicago suburbs, had a lot to do with it. Jurusik (6-2/194) developed in the Chicago Fury program before leaving home to play a U18 year with the Cleveland Barons, also of the T1EHL. The Jets drafted him in the 4th round of the 2014 NAHL Draft, and he earned the starting job before he had a dozen games’ experience of junior hockey. As a Jet, Jurusik led NAHL goalies in save percentage (.939) and goals against average (1.57), and with assistance from teammates like Hutton and Solow, helped the Jets reach the Robertson Cup Final Four for the very first time. He played two seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers (2015-17), then left college for his last year of junior eligibility. Playing with the USHL Sioux City Musketeers, he committed to Michigan Tech, where he just finished his junior season.
A late ’98, Solow (5-9/183) came to the Jets’ 2014-15 training camp still three months shy of his 16th birthday. From Naples, Florida, his hockey career saw him leave the house at just 14, when he played the 2013-14 season with the St. Louis AAA Blues. He worked his way into a regular lineup spot over the course of his rookie season, scoring three points in three playoff appearances. Solow came back to Janesville and showed remarkable progress into his second season of junior hockey, putting together a nine-game point streak into November 2015 when the USHL Dubuque Fighting Saints came calling. He finished the 2015-16 season in Dubuque, and torched the USHL the following year with a league-leading 69 points and a USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year title to boot. As a true freshman, he suited up for 38 games at Northeastern University, and helped his Huskies win the Hockey East Championship in 2018-19.
The Jets’ first ever selection at the NHL Draft came in June 2016, when a freshly-graduated Jack LaFontaine heard his name called in the third round by the Carolina Hurricanes. LaFontaine (6-2/205) had just finished his first and only season as a Jet, posting a .921 save percentage and helping Janesville to 2nd place in the Midwest Division. The Mississaugua, Ontario, product developed with the world-renowned Don Mills Flyers midget program and played a season for the OJHL Georgetown Raiders before answering the call to Janesville. Like Jurusik, LaFontaine entered a Big Ten crease as a true freshman, playing 11 games for the Michigan Wolverines his first year on campus. After two season in Ann Arbor, he played his final year of junior eligibility with the BCHL Penticton Vees, earning the league title for Top Goaltender. He enters the University of Minnesota this fall, the final year his NHL signing rights are held by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Like Hutton, DiPietro came to Janesville as a junior hockey greybeard without a commitment in his age-out season, and like Hutton, he earned his Division I commitment as a Jet. From Medina, Ohio, DiPietro (5-11/174) played a U18 season with Belle Tire before jumping to the NAHL. He began the 2014-15 season with the Topeka RoadRunners, but grew to know Janesville as a member of the Coulee Region Chill. DiPietro played the final 41 games of the 2014-15 season in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and opened the following season with the Austin Bruins. In January 2015, head coach and general manager Joe Dibble wanted to add some skill to his Jets lineup, and brought DiPietro to Janesville. DiPietro tallied 24 points in 29 games as a Jet, and announced his Division I commitment to Western Michigan University in March 2016. He exploded in his sophomore season with the Broncos, scoring 35 points in 36 games.
Defenseman Colin Felix (6-1/194) has developed quickly at every stage of his young hockey career. He came to Janesville after three seasons of prep school at St. George’s in Rhode Island, finishing his junior season there with 31 points in 25 games. His rookie season of junior hockey was spent in Janesville, where he appeared in 45 of 60 regular season games for the 2016-17 Jets, using his speed and smarts to erase any concerns about his age. The southern New Jersey native then was drafted by the Sioux City Musketeers in the third round of the 2017 USHL Draft. Felix bounced around a bit to begin the 2017-18 season, but found a home in Madison with the Capitols, playing his final year of junior hockey before starting his college career at UMass Amherst.
The Jets’ first ever NAHL MVP, Novak (6-3/201) was a high draft pick from the Jets in 2016 coming out of prep school at New Hampton (New Hampshire). As a rookie, he scored 28 points in 52 contests, a great first season by anyone else’s standards, but dedicated himself to becoming a game-changing power forward. The Windsor, Ontario, native returned to Janesville for his second season and shattered team scoring records with 73 points in 56 games, winning the franchise’s first league awards for Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player. In June 2018, Novak became the second Jet to hear his name called at the NHL Draft when the Ottawa Senators spent a seventh round pick on him. He scored 15 points in 37 games last season, his first as a Bentley Falcon. The Senators hold his NHL signing rights until August 2022.
Brady (6-5/174), like Novak, was a first round pick of the Jets who developed in Janesville and became an NHL Draft pick. Like LaFontaine, Brady is from the Greater Toronto Area and played one season of OJHL hockey (Markham Royals) before coming to Janesville, finishing his senior year of high school, and becoming an NHL Draft pick. The 2018-19 team MVP appeared in 43 games for the Jets as a NAHL rookie, posting a .912 save percentage and representing the Jets’ best chance to win every night he took the ice. Last Saturday, Brady was selected 127th by the New Jersey Devils, helping the Jets tie a NAHL high-water mark with three NHL Draft picks. Brady came to Janesville with his Division I commitment to Arizona State University already in place, and will play next season with the USHL Fargo Force. The Devils hold his NHL signing rights until August 2024.