With the 2019-20 NAHL Season coming to an abrupt and unexpected end, the Austin Bruins are taking this time to thank the players whose junior careers wrapped up this season. TJ Chillot takes you through each of the 1999-born players who finished the season on the Austin roster and what they brought to the Bruins both on the ice and off. In addition, TJ looks ahead to see what’s on the horizon for these incredibly talented hockey players. #OnceABruinAlwaysABruin
Thank you, Jed Pietila!
Here’s a little known fact about Jed Pietila, something he probably doesn’t want to think about, but the Bruins weren’t his first and only NAHL team. In fact, Austin wasn’t even the first team in the NAHL Central that he suited up for. *GASP*. In fact, Pietila’s NAHL career began in Aberdeen where he played five games, before suiting up for the Minot Minotauros for four games in 2017-18.
We don’t fault him for that though, because he came “home” at the very end of the 2017-18 season, playing 18 games with the Austin Bruins. While he earned his first NAHL point in Aberdeen having registered two assists in those five games, it was with the Bruins where he scored his first NAHL goal, in Austin’s regular season finale.
Since then, the Howell, MI, native would go on to play a total of 119 games for the Bruins while scoring 17 goals and adding 44 assists. His 119 games played in black-and-gold rank 12th in franchise history and sixth amongst defenseman.
We come to think of Jed as one the stalwarts on the Bruins blueline, one of the most reliable players on the ice at any given time. His intelligence and hockey IQ make it seem like he’s been anchoring defensive units for his entire career, but just like Austin wasn’t his first stop in the NAHL, defense wasn’t on his first position, either. During his stints with the Wings and ‘Tauros at the onset of his junior career, Jed played forward. It was as a forward where he registered that fist NAHL point I mentioned previously, an assist on a Kennan Spillum goal for the Wings. Once he arrived in Austin, the forward became a defenseman – not only on paper, but in his makeup, in his DNA. After two-plus seasons with the Bruins, Pietila finishes with a +7 rating while calling himself a defenseman, something worth celebrating as a former forward.
In addition to his success on the ice, Jed Pietila has become a piece of the very fabric that makes up the Austin Bruins organization. In my personal experiences with him, he is always up for helping out his fellow teammates or the staff. If you need something in a hurry, you go to Jed. If you need someone who’s got the leadership skills, the maturity, and a well-spokenness to speak to the media or run a Healthy Habits visit, you go to Jed. The words “bad attitude” just don’t exist when speaking about Jed, he’s the consumate teammate and exemplifies the Austin Bruins and all this team has come to mean in ten years.
While he doesn’t have a college committment just yet, there’s no doubt that Pietila has the talent to play at the next level if that’s the next chapter of his life which he chooses. We’ll be excited to see what the next step has in store for Jed and look forward to following his career and keeping our fans up-to-date with our weekly Alumni Reports.
To hear more from Jed Pietila about the start of his junior career, his time in Austin, check out The Austin Bruins Show episode from earlier this season where he and I sat down to discuss those very topics.
119 Games Played, 17 Goals, 44 Assists, +7, 56 PIM