Jalen Smereck hopes to move from one Motor City to another.
The Detroit native has committed to the defending Memorial Cup champion Oshawa Generals this coming season. A left-shooting defenseman, Smereck was drafted by the Ontario Hockey League Generals in 2013 with the 299th overall pick.
He played for the Bloomington Thunder after that team selected him in the first round with the 18th overall pick of the 2014 United States Hockey League Phase II Draft. He scored three goals and 15 assists in 51 games for the Thunder in 2014-15. He also played two games for the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League and tallied one assist.
“Jalen was a draft pick of ours a couple of years ago and he has continued to develop as a player over the past couple of years,” Oshawa General Manager Ron Hunt said. “Mike Kelly (the Generals’ director of hockey operations) and I watched him play for the Bloomington Thunder this past year and feel he is ready to make the jump to the OHL.”
Smereck reports to Oshawa’s training camp at Oshawa’s General Motors Centre at the end of the summer. If his makes the roster, he will move 260 miles from America’s Motor City to the self-proclaimed automotive capital of Canada.
Smereck, 18, is an alum of the Detroit Hockey Association, a program affiliated with the National Hockey League’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative which provides kids of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn and play hockey at little or no cost. In return, program participants must stay in school and maintain good grades.
The DHA has produced several hockey players of color who’ve gone on to play in college and professional leagues.
Tarasai Karega, one of the first black women to win an NCAA hockey championship, and Cameron Burt, a defenseman for the ECHL’s Florida Everblades and former Rochester Institute of Technology star, are among the program’s graduates.