USA Hockey, local junior hockey team offering free lessons for youths

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 5, 2018

 Players for the Metro Jets, a local Junior “A” hockey team, are pictured last September. The Metro Jets, in conjunction with USA Hockey, will host an event called Try Hockey for Free Day in March.

Players for the Metro Jets, a local Junior “A” hockey team, are pictured last September. The Metro Jets, in conjunction with USA Hockey, will host an event called Try Hockey for Free Day in March.

Photo by Sean Work

FRASER — Mike Modano, Chris Chelios and Pat LaFontaine. 

Those are some of the best American-born hockey players of all time, as each had successful careers in the NHL.

Events like the one coming up next month at Fraser Hockeyland could help create even more American-born hockey greats in the future.

On March 3, the Metro Jets, a local Junior “A” hockey team, in conjunction with USA Hockey, will be hosting an event called Try Hockey for Free Day, for youths ages 3-10.

According to Metro Jets coach and general manager Justin Quenneville, there are over 400 rinks and associations in the country that will also be participating in what he described as a “national effort.”

“It’s basically encouraging kids to come try youth hockey as part of the Hockey Weekend Across America celebration,” Quenneville said. “So it’s 100 percent to create interest, but also to give them some confidence in learning how to go to the next step. A (lot of) people don’t know what’s ahead of them when they’re entering into a new sport. We basically align ourselves with the USA Hockey model, and we teach them not just the fundamentals of the game by just stepping on the ice and seeing if they have interest, but then take it to the next level if they (want to) do more and sign up for any other programming that we can offer them.”

Skating, shooting, stick handling and learning how to stand on skates are examples of what the children will be taught from coaches and staff members of the Metro Jets, along with players and volunteers.

Skates, along with a helmet and gloves are required, all of which can be supplied to participants at Fraser Hockeyland.

Quenneville cited the Metro Jets as an example of what hockey can do for those who made a choice to take up the sport.

“We provide a platform for kids to get exposure to collegiate opportunities and to have not just scholarship (and) financial aid opportunities that come from that, but to give them continued education, as well as a high level of hockey that can help push their careers further,” Quenneville said.

The coach is from Canada, where hockey is king, but he noted that there are a lot of families here that haven’t been introduced to the sport.

“That’s why there’s continued efforts from USA Hockey,” he said. “Events like this are an integral part to try to introduce the sport to people who may never have seen it before.”

The event is scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m.

Those who are interested can register at tryhockeyforfree.com by entering ZIP code 48026 and selecting Fraser Hockeyland.