Friday, November 13, 2009

Kettering trio together again with Jets

The Metro Jets have had their share of local players suit up over the years, but none have shared the bond that Steve Lockwood, Josh Magnan and David Merkle share on and off the ice.

It’s a bond that goes back several years, too.

All three grew up in the area and all graduated from Waterford Kettering High School. They’re also the best of friends.

“Me and Lock started going to middle school together at Mason and throughout high school at Kettering,” said Magnan, who played against Merkle and Lockwood at Lakeland Arena when he was with the USA Eagles. “Me and Merk started at Kettering and we weren’t exactly inseparable, but we were always aound the school together.”

“Me and Lox have been friends since Pee Wee when we played on the Lakeland Hawks together,” added Merkle, a White Lake native. “Mags and I started to be friends when I went to high school and started practicing with Kettering. Once I was in tenth grade and I was on the high school team with them, you could find us in the hallways chatting it up about some puck.”

“Merk and I have been pretty close friends growing up through high schooI,” Lockwood said. “I met Mags in middle school, but we weren’t really good friends until high school when we started to play on the same team.”

Now with the Jets, each has a role they play to a ‘T’ for the suddenly resurgent Jets. Lockwood, a 19-year-old from Clarkston, is the steady second-year defenseman with a knack for keeping the opposition honest, Magnan, also 19 and a Waterford native, is the offesnive catalyst and leads the team with 11 tallies and the 18-year-old Merkle, whose brother, Karl, played for the Jets in the 1996-1997 season, is a solid second-line forward.

Being friends off the ice has helped the on-ice play for all three, who have also all called Lakeland home for more than 10 years.

“I think it’s a good thing because we have built chemistry between us and can read off each other on the ice,” said Lockwood.

“It's nice having some teammates on the Jets that I know,” Merkle said. “It was an easy transition coming to a new team already knowing Mags and Lox.”

Magnan said he almost didn’t get the chance to get to know Lakeland and his future buddies.

“My dad always loved the game of hockey, so he was going to start me up at Lakeland, but back in the day there was a two-year waiting list, so I started off my hockey career at Southfield,” remembered Magnan. “I played there till Pee Wee AA. Then I came to Lakeland and played for the USA Eagles travel team until Bantam A and then I started playing varsity hockey for Waterford Kettering.”

After this season, each one has different aspirations as to what they are shooting for hockey-wise.”I'm not too sure what’s next in store for me as far as hockey goes,” Merkle said. “I'm just working hard day to day and wherever that takes me I guess that's where I'll end up.”

“I'd like to play in the NAHL next season, but hard work comes first,” added Lockwood. “I have things I need to work on to improve so I can make it to that next level.”

“I’d really like to find a decent D-III school where I could play because I’m already two years behind my graduating class,” said Magnan. “If that falls through, maybe I might just go to college, but the NAHL is never out of the equation.”

Wherever these three lifelong friends wind up, you can bet they will always stay in touch and pick up where they left off.


The Jets took both games last weekend as they topped Motor City Friday night on the road, 4-3, and then defeated Grand Rapids, 4-3, in an overtime thriller as Magnan completed his hat trick 2:05 into OT.

Goaltender R.J. Heath won both games for the Jets.

Metro (5-10-0-1), winners of four of their last five games, heads to Dubuque this weekend for two with the defending Hurster Cup champs tonight and Saturday night. The Thunderbirds blanked the Jets, 6-0, at Lakeland back on Oct. 18.

The Jets stay on the road next weekend for three games in three days as they play in Toledo next Friday night and then follow that up with two in Cleveland.

Metro’s next home game is Sunday, Nov. 29 against Motor City.


Forward Mike Herter was released Monday. The 18-year-old was held pointless in six games for the Jets.


Former head coach Jon Cooper, who guided the Jets to the 2002 Silver Cup Junior B national championship, is now coaching the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. In 2007 and 2008, Cooper led the NAHL’s St. Louis Bandits to the Robertson Cup title.

Photo (l-r) - Lockwood, Magnan, Merkle

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