The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Jakov Novak has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Bentley Falcons of Atlantic Hockey.
Novak, a 6’3”, 200-pound power forward from Windsor, Ontario, has scored 15 points in 28 games for Janesville, and has the world’s top clubs scouting him on a regular basis as a prospect on NHL Central Scouting.
Jets head coach and general manager Joe Dibble, who drafted the Canadian winger with the Jets’ second of three first round picks last June, saw a bright future in Novak if he worked for it.
“I think every day he’s learning and getting better,” Dibble said. “At times in the beginning of the season I don’t know if he knew how to best use his size to his advantage, but he’s come into it and has realized his strength, and what he can do with his frame, his body, and his positioning. He’s getting better with the tools in his toolbox, and there are lots of them. The pieces have really come together for this young man, and when he’s done with juniors and college, I really do think this is a kid you’re going to watch on TV one day.”
The Falcons, coached by their all-time scoring leader Ryan Soderquist, commit to excellence both on the ice and in the classroom. Their 2015-16 team posted a 3.45 grade point average, and the school boasts one of the top business schools in the country. Last April, Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked Bentley #10 in the United States, ahead of Cornell and Penn.
“Bentley has such a great business school, and as one of the top in the country, that definitely attracted me there,” said Novak. “I was definitely interested in schools that could help me academically as much as they do athletically.”
Novak was selected eighth overall by the Jets in last year’s NAHL Entry Draft. After finishing his midget career with the Windsor Jr. Spitfires, he scored 37 goals in 40 games for New Hampshire’s New Hampton School. In his rookie season of junior hockey, he’s taken a more complementary role within the Jets’ high octane offense, currently pacing the NAHL at 4.12 goals per game. Novak, like the successful Jets before him, understands the value of playing your role for your teammates.
“My main goal here is to win a championship,” he said. “Everything else follows if you play your role and do your job. There’s no reason why, if you make a team goal the big goal, the individual goals won’t come, too. You aren’t changing anything about your game by trying to win, and that’s what we’re trying to do. My main goal is to win a Robertson Cup for the Jets and for my brothers on this team.”
Novak becomes the seventh player of the 2016-17 Janesville Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Chris Dodero (American International), Cole Paskus (UMass Lowell), Colin Felix (UMass Amherst), Jack Gates (Colorado College), Michael Maloney (Brown University), and Joey Abate (Wisconsin).