FRASER, MI -- Back in late September and early October, the Metro Jets embarked on a road trip, similar to most teams’ schedules.
This was not your typical road trip though.
From Sept. 29-Oct. 8, the Jets were in China for the Bauer Junior World Cup tournament in Beijing. They played against several countries’ national junior teams and came away with a bronze medal at the event.
The Belarus National Team won gold, while Russia Dynamo took the silver.
The Jets defeated Germany 8-0 to open the tournament, then downed Finland 5-2 before losing to Russia 2-1 and Belarus 3-1 and wrapping up with a 3-2 win over Latvia.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to represent our country at the international stage in China,” said Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “The competition was really strong, and it was a great experience for our players to play against some tough national team programs. I am happy our players were able to overcome some of the hurdles and adjustments from traveling so far. You can tell they were slightly jet lagged midway through the tournament, yet we still competed against some national team programs.
“In the end, winning the bronze medal was a great achievement and we will never forget our experience here in China. We would like to thank the Chinese Hockey Federation, the Beijing Hunters Ice Hockey Club and the USPHL for providing us with such a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everything was first class and professional. The national attention and continued efforts to see the sport of hockey grow in China was special to see firsthand.”
Off the ice, the Jets were able to take in the sights and sounds of China, including the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and the city of Beijing itself.
Veteran Jets goalie Brian Tallieu relished the experience overseas and said the jet lag was worth it.
“I’m very thankful to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only represent the USA playing a sport I wake up to every day, but to go to China and I’m grateful for that,” Tallieu said. “An absolutely breathtaking experience going to the Great Wall and Forbidden City. Such an amazing trip and I already miss it.
“The competition was a different style of play than what we were used to. We quickly adapted in the first game, so it was fun to see us play well against some amazing programs. Overall, the boys had an unreal time in China. Made so many memories that will last a lifetime and nothing can take that away from us.”
For Jets captain Jeremy Schwartz, he said the trip was more than the five games on the ice.
“Seeing a whole different side of the world is speechless – not only seeing the mountains and the people, but seeing the Great Wall was unbelievable and I’m glad I had the chance to see it all,” Schwartz said. “The games were different and challenging at the same time, but it was also fun playing against other kids from around the world.
“Nine days with the boys and coaches was a great time and trying new foods and seeing new places with them made it even better. I couldn’t ask for a better team to do it with.”
Back stateside, the Jets and MJDP teams went to Chicago for the USPHL Midwest Showcase.
The Jets defeated the Minnesota Moose, 3-1, fell to the Charlotte Rush 4-3 in overtime, beat the Minnesota Blue Ox, 5-0, and closed out with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Hampton Roads Whalers, who ended October at 17-0.
The Metro Jets Development Program (MJDP) team picked up three wins, defeating the Chicago Cougars, Atlanta Jr. Kings and Decatur Blaze, while falling 1-0 to the Dells Ducks.