Friday, February 12, 2010

Jets fly high with local Cub Scout pack

The Metro Jets' players see themselves as regular, ordinary people, but last weekend, they became heroes to a local group of Cub Scouts.

A group of kids from the first grade Tiger Den from Pack 126, based out of the Clarkston United Methodist Church and Clarkston Elementary School, came to the game Saturday night and took in the action from Lakeland Arena.

Metro’s captains – Brett Grech, Mike Corder and Jon Wickersham – were three of the players that met the kids before the game (pictured) and the scouts also got a tour of the rink and the Jets’ locker room.

Tiger Den leader Jeff Waite brought several from his troop to a game last year and had such a fun time that he said he and the kids wanted an encore this season.

“The kids last year had a great time and many said that it was their favorite outside-event of the year,” said Waite, a former scout with the pack himself. “Also, as part of the Cub Scout program, we are required to see a live sporting event. Some groups go to a high school basketball game or to professional sporting events as well, but we like the intimacy of the arena and the opportunity that the Jets organization gives to the kids to meet the players, see the locker room and stuff like that. I think it adds another level to the experience rather than just getting a ticket and sitting down to watch a game. Not only can they get closer to the game than they could at those other games, but they also get to relate to the players.

“The kids all seemed to have a great time again this year. Although they weren’t real sure about the smells of the locker room, they enjoyed getting to meet the players and immediately started to root for the player who autographed the puck that they received before the game.”

Grech said that meeting the kids made him feel proud.

“When I was younger, I always looked up to older guys and it’s cool to be the other way around,” said Grech. “If we have any positive influence on these kids, it’s a huge deal and hopefully, we can be just that.”

“If kids can look at me and want to play hockey and try their best, that is great,” Corder added. “Any team activity is important because it helps to teach kids team building lessons so that later in life they can work in society. If I can inspire someone to want to give their best all the time, even when things don't go the way you want them to, that is a good thing.”

Waite also said that coming to Lakeland Arena gave him a chance to reflect on the past.

“In the late 1980s and early ‘90s while I was in high school, my younger brother and I used to come to the arena to watch the Jets play on Friday and Saturday nights,” explained Waite. “It was a fun way to spend time together, while getting out of the house by ourselves. When I became a den leader for my own sons and saw the requirement that we attend a live sporting event, the Jets were one of the first teams that I thought of. After coming to see the team a few months ago, my youngest son decided that he wanted to play hockey, and is now involved in the Atoms program offered through the arena.”

Corder said he enjoyed the experience so much that he thinks the Jets have the potential to do more in the Waterford area to drum-up more interest in the team.

“Having special themed games like inviting the Cub Scouts and the local youth hockey teams I think would bring more of the community to the rink,” said Corder. “Maybe helping with some of the events of local groups would be a good idea also.”

Waite is already looking ahead to next season and wants to pack the stands at Lakeland.

“I would like to plan a little further ahead than we have in the past, however, and possibly bring the entire pack of about 60 kids,” Waite said. “I would like to explore the possibility of that with (Jets GM) Butch (Wolfe). Everyone had a great time again this year and we look forward to returning in the future.

“I think it would be fun if we could make this an annual event.”


Metro faltered in back-to-back games last weekend, effectively eliminating the Jets from playoff contention.

The Queen City Steam defeated the Jets, 6-3, Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

The Jets actually had a lead in the game in the first period when Corder banked a clearing attempt off the boards and it squirted past Steam goalie Justin Camuto. The goal was Corder's first of the season.

Tim Hooker scored a highlight-reel goal in the second period when he went high on Camuto while on his back.

Steve Vandenberghe ended the Jets' scoring with a late power-play goal in the third period on a blast from the point.

Between the pipes, Ian Mercer finished with 28 saves in the loss.

Jon Elliott scored a pair of goals for Metro, but the Grand Rapids Jr. Owls got two goals in the third period to take a 5-3 win at Southside Ice Community Center Sunday afternoon.

Elliott now has 13 goals on the year, good for second on the team behind Josh Magnan's 16 tallies.

Mike Denston also scored for the Jets and Mercer made 24 saves in goal.

The Jets (9-29-0-3) play in Grand Rapids again Friday night before hosting the Flint Jr. Generals Saturday night at Lakeland Arena for a 7:40 p.m. faceoff.

Remaining games on ’09-10 schedule:
Fri. Feb. 12 @ Grand Rapids
Sat. Feb. 13 vs. Flint
Fri. Feb. 19 vs. Dubuque
Sat. Feb. 27 @ St. Louis
Sun. Feb. 28 @ St. Louis
Sat. Mar. 6 vs. Pittsburgh
Sun. Mar. 7 vs. Pittsburgh


Mercer has been in net for six of the Jets’ nine wins this season.


Brent Agrusa, head coach of the Jets during the 1999-2000 season and the first half of the 2000-2001 season, is now co-head coach of the California Stars 18AAA Midget team.

Photo by Andy Grossman

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