Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Metro d-man Baker off to Robert Morris

John Baker came home to Waterford last season to play his final season of junior eligibility and he parlayed a terrific season with the Metro Jets into a college hockey deal with the Robert Morris University ACHA Division I gold team in Chicago.

Baker said he had several other options to play collegiately next season, but the opportunity to play in Chicago and for RMU coach Tom Adrahtas was too much to pass on.

“I was in contact with their coordinator and coach throughout the past three seasons,” said Baker. “I also talked with Davenport, Lindenwood, Kent State and Curry College, but Robert Morris just felt like it was the best place for me.”

Robert Morris was once a private college, but became a university in 2009. The school hosted the ACHA national tournament in 2010 and Adrahtas has coached at the NCAA level and in the United States Hockey League.

On the ice, Baker is hoping to be a top-four defenseman for Robert Morris, while in the classroom, he will be majoring in business.

Reflecting on the 2011-12 season where he led all Jets’ defenders with five goals and 22 points playing alongside Adam Reid much of the year, Baker said he’s not sure he’d be in the position he is right now if he hadn’t decided to play in Waterford.

“I feel like the division we were in really helped my compete level every night,” said Baker. “In our division, we had to come to play every night and it was anybody’s game. I think playing for coach (Jason) Cirone was the best choice I made during my junior hockey career. He is a great coach and gave me a chance to put up a lot of minutes every game and really develop even more even though it was my last year of junior. Even though I wish I could have played at a higher level, I had fun and loved competing every night as a Jet and for coach Cirone.”

On a team scale, Baker saw the Jets take the proverbial step up into a legitimate contender in the North American 3 Hockey League.

“I feel like we definitely turned some heads last season as an organization because of the team we had and the coaching,” Baker said. “Nobody could really look down on our team last season. We were a tough top team in the league and definitely took a big stride in the right direction, much thanks to Jason. We had a lot of talent and we were tough. I feel like you could call us a hard-nosed, blue-collar team, finished our hits and really just wore teams down by the third period in many of our games.”

Now off to the Windy City this week to get settled, Baker is focused on the future.

”I am set on taking my collegiate hockey to the next level,” said Baker. “I would really enjoy playing professional over in Europe after a few years of school. I love hockey and really want to make something out of the past 18 years of playing.

“I believe if I want it bad enough, it might be the road less traveled, but I think I have the heart to take my game to the next level.”

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