By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Cole Paskus has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the UMass Lowell River Hawks of Hockey East.
“Cole as a hockey player is exactly how he is as a human being,” said Joe Dibble, fifth year head coach and general manager of the Jets. “He does everything the right way. He doesn’t cheat himself or cut corners, he doesn’t take shifts off. He’s a first class athlete and a first class young man. UMass Lowell is the kind of organization that not only wants good hockey players, but good human beings, so it’s a great fit.”
Paskus (6-0/185) is a second-year player for Joe Dibble’s Jets who torched opposing teams with 91 points in 38 games in his junior and senior years at Madison West High School. Paskus, whose drive to improve rivals anyone in the North American Hockey League, joined the Jets in 2015 as a rookie, and struggled early on to make the lineup.
“When times got hard or there were obstacles in the way, I didn’t give up,” Paskus said. “It was about sticking to the system and trusting the process.”
True to his way, Paskus put his head down, battled, and finished the season as the team’s Most Improved Player, as voted on by his teammates.
This season, Paskus was chosen as an alternate captain, again by his teammates.
“It’s an honor,” Paskus said about the “A” on his jersey. “It means the world to me that the guys think of me that way. I’m thankful to have the character guys I do in that locker room.”
This high-flying Jets team finds itself with a six point lead over the Minnesota Magicians for first place in the Midwest Division. Janesville’s speed in transition and ability to consistently generate scoring opportunities has translated into a league-high 4.15 goals per game, and six Jets scoring at a point-per-game pace, Paskus one of them.
“I don’t necessarily think of myself as a point per game player in the sense of ‘hey, it’s another game, I need to score another point,’” said Paskus, whose 10 goals and 14 assists put him already just two points behind last year’s mark. “For me it’s always, ‘how can I help this team win tonight?’ If I need to block shots or take the body, or even if we do need to score a goal, that’s what I’m focused on.”
UMass Lowell boasts a 8-5-3 record early this season, and was ranked #9 in the most recent USCHO.com poll.
“UMass Lowell is a great program for Cole to continue developing as a player, and a great school for him to continue developing as a person,” said Dibble. “They have a great track record of development and advancing their kids on to pro hockey.”
Norm Bazin heads his alma mater and carried a 137-78-20 record into the start of this season. With Bazin at the helm, the River Hawks won the Hockey East regular season and league tournament in 2013, each for the first time as a program.
“It’s such an honor to join that program,” Paskus said. “After going on my visit and meeting the people I did, I could tell it’s a true, honest, hardworking group. That correlates with me. Everything I’m about seems to be their motto. They’re hardworking, blue-collar people and I’m honored to become a part of that organization.”
With his decision made and his Division I commitment made, Paskus said he won’t be changing his goals.
“I’m still working as hard as I can for the guys around me,” he said. “Those guys next to me worked hard for me, and I’m going to do everything I can to win a Robertson Cup for Janesville and help get that locker room full of Division I hockey players.”
Paskus becomes the fifth player of the 2016-17 Janesville Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Colin Felix (UMass Amherst), Jack Gates (Colorado College), Michael Maloney (Brown University), and Joey Abate (Wisconsin).
Contact the Janesville Jets’ front office at (608) 752-JETS, or go to www.janesvillejets.com for the regular season schedule, ticket information, and sponsorship opportunities. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).
— JANESVILLE JETS —