Thursday, July 19, 2012

Metro pick Tilford has tools to succeed

Mike Tilford was the lone goaltender drafted by the Metro Jets in last month’s North American 3 Hockey League draft and while the Traverse City native still has no idea where he’ll play next season, the door is wide open for him to hone his skills in Waterford.

Tilford was a Second Team All-State player in 2011-12 at Traverse City West High School and was selected by the Jets in the 11th round (182nd overall).

“From a personal standpoint, I had a very good season and earned a couple awards,” said Tilford. “From a team standpoint, it was not real successful. We were an extremely young team and lost in the first round of the playoffs.”

Randy Wilson and Sean Clark recommended Tilford to us and one thing that Randy said is that the kid blocks pucks,” said Metro coach Jason Cirone. “That’s a good thing for a goalie, right? He’ll have a shot to play in the NAHL, but if you look at our track record in moving goalies on, I think he’d be a good fit as a Metro Jet.”

On NA3HL draft day, Tilford was shocked to see his name come up on the screen during the online draft process.

”I have worked with Randy (Wilson) in the past, but I was unaware the Jets were looking at drafting me,” Tilford said. “I do not know very much about the Jets at all and to be honest, all I really know about the NA3HL is that it is a good stepping stone for the NAHL.”

Traverse City West is the home of former Jets’ first-round pick Vinnie Pietrangelo, who played on the back end in Waterford during the 2009-10 season and will be a junior at Finlandia University this fall.

 “I know Vinnie a little, mostly just from playing with him at drop-in and such,” added Tilford.

This fall, Tilford has an option to play Midget AAA hockey with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, but knows that where he skates for the 2012-13 season is still up in the air at this point of the summer.

“My expectations for next year, wherever I may end up, are that I have a successful season,” said Tilford. “I also want to gain exposure from NAHL and USHL teams.”

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