Shaler grad Hetz finding his groove at Ferris State | TribLIVE.com
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Shaler graduate Jacob Hetz (front) played in a few games as a freshman on the Ferris State hockey team.

Jacob Hetz isn’t the talkative type.

“He is quiet, but I’ve started noticing some jokes coming out and his personality. The longer that he’s here and the more you get to know him, he laughs, he’s got a good personality around his teammates,” Ferris State associate head coach Drew Famulak said.

What he sometimes lacks in words and conversation he makes up for on the ice.

Despite being a freshman at one of the top NCAA Division I hockey schools in the country, the former Shaler standout has made his way into the lineup for a few games with the Bulldogs.

Adjusting to the college game hasn’t affected his playing style one bit.

“Just go to the net hard and try to do my role on the ice,” Hetz said.

The third- or fourth-line forward favors to crash and bang, attempting to put pucks on net from all angles. In his first two games with the team, he registered five shots.

After the full adjustment is made to the pace of Division I hockey, Hetz could be a key contributor in future lineups for Ferris State.

“We see where he definitely has room to grow. We’re just continuing working with him in all situational types of plays, whether they’re offensive or defensive,” Famulak said.

The former Titan works well when he has the puck, but the coaching staff is working with him to become a powerful two-way player and difference-maker on special teams, a plan they’ve had since first watching him play.

“It was one of those situations where I didn’t know much about him,” Famulak said. “But after the game I had a lot of questions. He was just very dynamic in that game in terms of being an impact player not only offensively but defensively as well.”

Hetz’s hockey career has led him all across the country.

After being coached by his father for two years at Shaler, he went to Alaska where he played with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, an affiliate of the North American Hockey League, for three seasons, where he accumulated a career-high 63 points.

“The great thing about hockey is there’s multiple ways to get where you want to get to and whether it is high school or that matriculating into junior hockey and then coming to us,” Famulak said.

High school hockey was an integral part of Hetz’s hockey career, not just because of the skills he learned, but for the relaxation it offered.

“It helped me to focus on the fun part of the game, instead of being serious,” Hetz said. “Right now in my life it’s more of a job. It’s fun, but it’s more of a job now just going out to play.”

Haley Sawyer is a freelance writer.

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