Friday, February 06, 2009

Veteran Grech steps to forefront for Jets

If the Metro Jets have their way, Brett Grech won’t be back next season.

And that’s how it should be.

Grech, a third-year defenseman from Hartland, has been one of several Jets players that have been inquired about by North American Hockey League teams over the course of this season.

He played the last two years as a forward, but was moved back to defense this season and has not missed a beat, even leading the Central States Hockey League in defenseman scoring for a stretch earlier this season (still fourth going into this weekend) after leading the Jets in scoring in 2007-2008 with 16 goals and 33 points. He currently has a 6-22—28 line, but more than points, he’s been a leader for the struggling Jets.

“’Grechy’ is a model citizen on our team with his attitude and work ethic,” Jets assistant coach Ryan Skop said. “If everyone on our team had his outlook, work ethic and drive, we’d be a lot better off than we are. There’s a reason he’s logging 40 minutes a night. No question he’s our No. 1 back there, but he’s got nobody to thank for that other than himself. When we broke camp, we were very uneasy about our group on the back end, so we stuck him back there and he’s done great ever since.”

An alternate captain, Skop said it’s hard to believe Grech just turned 18 in October.

“It seems like he should be a 20-year-old because he’s been here so long,” Skop added. “He’s only a ’90, so schools haven’t really started looking at him, but he’s definitely a North American League player and some school somewhere will find him.

“He’s our best player and it’s going to be hard to replace him next year when he moves on, but there isn’t anyone more deserving of advancement than ‘Grechy.’”


Metro played just a single game last weekend, losing 5-1 to Flint on Saturday night at home.

David Williams (Bloomfield Hills) scored his sixth goal of the season, on the power play redirecting a Ryan Eby (Linden) point shot, and goaltender Kevin Kinnie (Shelby Township) made his season debut with a 31-save outing.

The Jets (6-30-0-1) host Dubuque Saturday night in their home finale at 7:40 p.m. and then travel to Flint for a Sunday afternoon matinee scheduled for 2:20 p.m.

Dubuque has beaten the Jets in all three of their meetings this season, while Metro is 1-3-0 against Flint.

After this weekend, the Jets play two in Queen City (Feb. 14-15), two in Cleveland (Feb. 21-22), one in Grand Rapids (Feb. 28) and finish the season in Toledo (March 6).


The CSHL trade deadline is Sunday. As of Friday afternoon, the Jets had not made any moves. Last year at the deadline, Metro stood pat.

The Jets have five players with 10 or more goals – captain Adam Novack (Rochester Hills) has a team-best 18), Will Saley (Milford) has scored 12 and Justin Vinson (Livonia), Patrick Gallagher (Plymouth) and Brandon Nault (Madison Heights) all have 10.

Defenseman Steve Lockwood (Clarkston) continues to lead the league with 195 penalty minutes.

Lockwood and Williams have also been rotating as alternate captains with forward Steve Wiechec (Troy) injured.

Metro and Grand Rapids are the only two teams mathematically eliminated from participating in the CSHL playoffs.


Jack McCoy played with the Jets during the team’s early years and has worked his way up to be a linesman at the American Hockey League level.

McCoy, a Livonia native who played college hockey at Oswego State in the SUNYAC, has also worked as an on-ice official in the Ontario Hockey League, ECHL, International Hockey League and United Hockey League.

Photo by Walt Dmoch

No comments: