By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Adam Winborg has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Winborg, whose current teammate and goaltender, Jack LaFontaine, committed to the Wolverines in December. “To play for a Big Ten school, especially Michigan, is exciting. Everything about their program is just top of the line.”
Winborg (6-1/190), who was named team MVP at the 2015-16 team banquet last week, is just finishing his fourth season of junior hockey in Wisconsin. The past three of those have come with Janesville. After playing 49 games with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers as a 17-year-old, Winborg joined the Jets and has redefined scoring consistency. Early this season, Winborg passed Ross Mauermann as Janesville’s all-time leading scorer with his 101st career point as a Jet. Playing top six and first unit power play this year, Winborg has pushed that mark to a virtually unreachable 145.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Janesville so much,” said Winborg, whose 62 career goals also rank him first in team history. “Especially my second year, the record-setting year. Then this year I think we have what it takes to have everything end with a championship. It could be a great ending to my three years here.”
The Michigan Wolverines hockey program under legendary head coach Red Berenson has been among the most decorated in the country. With Berenson, Michigan qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 22 consecutive seasons from 1991 to 2012. Berenson has guided Michigan to 11 Frozen Four appearances and two NCAA championships, in 1996 and 1998.
Regardless of skill, a career that resembles Winborg’s is rare in the landscape of junior hockey. To play for the same league, team, and coach for three consecutive seasons might be seen by some players as spinning the wheels without advancing anywhere. Asked about this, the Jets’ alternate captain displayed the emotional maturity exemplified in the “A” on his jersey this season.
“It meant a lot to keep playing here,” Winborg said. Coach [Joe] Dibble has kept his trust in me in all situations. I haven’t always been scoring goals, but there’s always been something to do. That’s something he’s always put in me. There’s always more room to work hard and I can always do something to help the team succeed.”
“Winborg’s maturity is part of what makes him such an incredible hockey player,” said Dibble, who is finishing his fourth year as the Jets’ head coach and general manager. “He came over from Sweden at such a young age and has battled through so much adversity, including injuries, and he’s just battled back and been better every time.”
Dibble said Winborg’s recent dedication to improving his defensive play is likely what set him apart from other prospects for Michigan.
“He’s come a long way in his career, but this year, too,” Dibble said. “He pays a lot of attention to the details of the game and constantly looks for ways to improve. This year he noticed he had an opportunity to improve his play away from the puck, and he took it. He’s not the kind of kid to see opportunities to improve and pass on them. He pushes himself the same way he pushes his teammates. He’s been a great face of this organization.”
Winborg becomes the ninth player of the 2015-16 Janesville Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Blake Weyrick (Canisius), Dawson DiPietro (Western Michigan), Shane Sellar (Dartmouth), Jack LaFontaine (Michigan), Nils Rygaard (Alaska-Anchorage), Kip Hoffmann (Alaska-Anchorage), Jack Gates (Colorado College), and Michael Maloney (Brown).
Contact the Janesville Jets’ front office at (608) 752-JETS, or go to www.janesvillejets.com for details on the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs, season ticket information, and sponsorship opportunities. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).
— JANESVILLE JETS —