Jackson United hockey player Easton Neitzke (4) looks for a teammate during a recent scrimmage at Optimist Ice Arena. Photos by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
(November 20, 2022 8:00 AM) The Jackson United hockey team may want to rename itself as Jackson County United.
Jackson United added Grass Lake, Hanover-Horton, Napoleon, Jackson Christian, and Columbia Central to its cooperative team. Jackson Christian and Grass Lake are represented on the 2022-2023 roster for Jackson United.
Coach Matt Grimes believes the Jackson United will be stronger than the team’s 13-13 record last year.
“This team is quite a bit better than last year,” Grimes said. “We need to be consistent and show up every game.”
Jackson United finished 6-3 in the Southeastern Conference.
Liam Carter from Jackson Christian High School is a senior who is new to Jackson United this season.
“Coach Grimes invited me to skate with the team this summer,” Carter said. “I played for him before in travel hockey.”
Northwest senior Easton Neitzke will serve as a captain for the Jackson United team. Last year he scored eight goals and added 16 assists for the team.
“I expect a lot from this team … we should be in every game,” Neitzke said. “It means a lot to be a captain.
“I want to strive to be the best teammate and player I can be.”
Fellow Mountie Carson Lacinski returns after scoring 16 goals a year ago for Jackson United.
“I played in Prospect Hockey League, but decided to stay home,” Lacinski said of his decision to play high school hockey for Jackson United. “We have a lot of skilled players and I look forward for a good season.”
Jackson High School goalie Nick Nau returns after a 6-6 season in the pipes for JU. He finished with a save percentage of .895 last year.
“I picked up juggling to help with my hand-and-eye coordination,” Nau said. “Playing goalie is a mental game … if you are not confident, you are going to stop the puck.”
Western High School has the largest contingent on the team with more than a dozen players. Kully Miotke returns to Jackson United after scoring 12 points a year ago.
He has seen both sides of the Lumen/Jackson United battles as he attended LCCHS his freshman year.
“I have played hockey with everyone on that team,” Miotke said. “I am still friends with all of them … but on game day, they are not my friends anymore.
“This year we got them.”
Other key returnees include Aiden Chappell (30 points as a sophomore), Jack Whyte (15 points last year), Luke Wilcox (13 points in 2021-2022), and Easton Craig (7-7 in goal for JU).
Some other key players include Cougar Fagan, Maddox Grimes, Hayden Kim, Brennan Forward, and Peyton Paquin.
Jackson United 2022-2023 Hockey Schedule
Nov. 19 Eastside at Jackson United (Optimist) 4 p.m.
Nov. 25 Jackson United at Reeths-Puffer (Adrian) 5 p.m.
Nov. 26 Manistique at Jackson United 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 Jackson United at Kalamazoo Eagles (Wings) 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 3 Chelsea at Jackson United 4 p.m.
Dec. 7 Lenawee United at Jackson United 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 10 Jackson United at Eastside (Suburban) 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 Jackson United at Dexter (Veterans Memorial, AA) 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 Jackson United at Marysville (Bay County) 5 p.m.
Dec. 17 Jackson United at Clarkston (Bay County) 10 a.m.
Dec. 21 Mattawan at Jackson United 5 p.m.
Jan. 4 Cap City at Jackson United 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 7 Jackson United at Lumen Christi (Optimist) 6 p.m.
Jan. 11 Skyline at Jackson United 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 Temperance-Bedford at Jackson United 4 p.m.
Jan. 19 Jackson United at Saline (AA Ice Cube) 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21 Ann Arbor Pioneer at Jackson United 4 p.m.
Feb. 1 Jackson United at Ann Arbor Huron (AA Ice Cube) 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 Lumen Christi at Jackson United 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 Jackson United at Lenawee United (Adrian) 5 p.m.
Feb. 11 Jackson United at Chelsea (Arctic) 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 15 Dexter at Jackson United 5:30 p.m.