Jets' Himley headed to the Air Force Academy
Jordan Himley has made the most of his two years in Janesville.
The Jets winger has gone from a key penalty killer to one of the team's top scorers, and he was rewarded for his hard work last month when he earned a Division I scholarship to play hockey at the Air Force Academy.
First things first, Himley will lead the Jets into a weekend home series with the Soo Eagles. They'll host 7 p.m. games on Friday and Saturday at the Janesville Ice Arena.
“You just have to put in the effort,” Himley said after practice Wednesday. “Last year was just kind of a slow year for a rookie year. There were a lot of roller coasters … but as long as you keep going and stick with it, everything will be fine.”
Jets head coach Joe Dibble said he knew from the start that Himley had the makeup to be a Division I player, but he needed to see the young player's competitive streak.
Himley logged 57 games with the team in his first year, scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists.
“He came in last year as a rookie and killed a lot of penalties for us,” Dibble said. “He was one of those guys that was in and out of the lineup at the beginning. He needed to get bigger and stronger and to adapt to junior hockey.
“But we learned quick that he's got speed and a skill set on him that a lot of kids don't have.”
Himley has flashed those skills in his second season here.
The 20-year-old is second on the Jets with 31 points and leads the team with 18 assists, numbers which he credits to playing on the team's top-scoring line.
“Now he's one of those kids where he's exciting to watch,” Dibble said. “He can shake a lot of kids, make moves and make defenders look foolish at times. He makes the moves that kids see on TV, and our fans can 'Ooh' and 'Ahh.'
“It's an exciting style to watch.”
Himley's efforts didn't go unnoticed. He was invited to take a visit to Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., and loved the campus.
The Mundelein, Ill., native described the military aspect—something he hadn't previously been accustomed to—as a bit shocking, but he is excited about it. He's committed to five years of service after graduation and says he might study mechanical or civil engineering.
“It's actually relieving,” Himley said. “You come out with a job, which is great. I'll probably stick with it and stay in for 20 years and get the benefits.”
For now, the Jets are mired in a fight for the playoffs as the stretch run of the NAHL season nears.
At 16-17-1, they're in last in the North Division, but have played at least three fewer games than the other five teams. And Janesville has a chance to make up ground with five straight games against Soo, which is in fifth place at 16-15-7.
“The next two weeks are huge for us,” Dibble said. “They're right ahead of us in the standings and we have games in hand, so we hold our own destiny.
“The Soo are in our way, and we've got to be ready to play.”
Jets issue grand challenge
The Janesville Jets have dubbed this weekend's series at the Janesville Ice Arena as “Put a Grand in the Stands” weekend. They're hoping to see 1,000 fans at their games at 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights.