The RedHawks are on the penalty kill. Canisius is moving the puck around the top of their offensive zone, firing passes back and forth, trying to get the RedHawks moving around. Finally, the man on the right flank sees an opening. He fires a one-touch slapshot as the Miami goalie starts his slide across the crease.
In the split second before the puck gets to the net, senior captain Jack Clement is there. The puck bounces off the big defensman’s thigh and caroms away. The RedHawk bench erupts.
Clement has woken up to bruises plenty of times in his RedHawk career. He’s blocked 174 shots over his career. Anyone will tell you he’s one of the toughest players on the team. Most people will probably say he’s number one.
He’s only missed one game over his career too. Iron man Clement’s toughness and reliability were just two of the characteristics that led fourth-year Head Coach Chris Bergeron to name him team captain before this season.
Clement, a senior from Detroit and a marketing major in the Farmer School of Business, plans to graduate at the end of this year.
Clement believes the key to his game and career success is due to his simple play style. He emphasizes taking care of the little things, and this style has allowed him to make some amazing plays throughout his career. His personal favorite is the last seconds of the Ferris State game last season where he scored a shorthanded goal to force overtime against Ferris State last.
Pre-Miami and Takeaways from Junior Hockey:
Before attending Miami, Jack played two years of junior hockey, which is a competitive level of ice hockey for 16-21 year olds. After high school, Jack took the non-traditional route and decided to join the Shreveport Mudbugs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Then in his second year played for Des Moines Buccaneers of the U.S. Hockey League (USHL).
Clement had a good experience playing juniors.
“I lived with one of my best friends from Michigan also,” Clement said. “We ended up winning the championship that year, which was awesome. It was tons of fun, and a great first year in junior experience and I was in one spot the whole year, which was nice, and a little bit rare.”
Clement was named to the First Team All-Rookie Team with the Mudbugs in 2018-19, and won the NAHL title.
But Clement wasn’t always the high achieving player he is today.
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“I wasn't ready to play college hockey, just physically,” Clement said. “I needed to get bigger, faster, stronger. Juniors did a great job of developing those aspects of my game.”
But really, juniors helped Clement’s gain something more than just technical skill. He said it was vital to developing his maturity off the ice as well.
“Moving away from home, with all your friends going to college is hard,” Clements said. “You're going to live with another family and just play hockey. So it forces you to grow up in a different way. This helped once I finally got to college because of the experience and maturity under my belt as a freshman, which helps not only in the classroom, but on the ice as well.”
Miami runs deep in Clement’s family.
His older sister and younger sister both attend Miami. However, what brought him to Oxford was current hockey Head Coach Chris Begeron.
“He's just such an unbelievable guy, just in terms of doing what he says he's going to do and a guy you can really trust and lean on,” Clement said. “He's going to shoot you straight and he isn’t playing any games with you. And I feel like that's pretty rare to have that approach, especially at this level.”
During Clement’s time in junior hockey, he was actively pursued by University of Nebraska-Omaha, where Begeron was at the time. The two developed such a strong bond, that when Begeron took the job at Miami it was a “no brainer” for Jack to follow. Clement said Begeron has been his biggest mentor during his time at Miami.
“So right from day one we've had a really good relationship and I think that that's obviously carried over into now my senior year just kind of growing every year together,” Clements said. “His first year was my first year, and we went through the whole process together and I think that is pretty special.”
The Student Athlete Experience
Clement will be graduating this year with a degree in marketing. It hasn’t always been easy to balance hockey and school.
“It's definitely been difficult, there’s so much discipline,” Clement said. “You have to get a certain routine.”
He said it was important for him to keep a separation between his academics and his sport.
“Finding the balance is key because I would say I'm not at my best on the ice when I'm not doing well in the classroom, and when I'm not doing well in the classroom I'm not doing well on the ice,” Clement said. “They kind of go hand in hand. So if I know that I'm doing everything I can at the rink to be as good as I can on the ice and if I know I’m putting the work outside the rink, studying, then I know I'm giving myself a chance to succeed in both.”
Leading This Team Back on Track
Clement was named captain of the hockey team in August.
He describes his leadership style as lead by example, and never wants to ask something of someone he would not endure himself. He prides himself on taking care of the little things and keeping his game simple.
Clement focuses on reaching out to players, but not just on the ice. He wants his teammates to build up trust in each other off the ice, which will only help their team chemistry.
After multiple consecutive bad seasons, the RedHawks started off hot this season, picking up four wins in their first six games. However they quickly cooled off and have hit adversity the past few games. Clement believes the key is consistency and to keep moving forward not focusing on mistakes.
“Everyone's going to make mistakes, and everyone's going to have a bad game,” Clement said. “But we can’t let one thing or one play or one game affect the season. We have the opportunity every weekend to control our destiny. We play against really good teams every night in our conference, and we know that. But just kind of playing at that consistent level and not being too high when we're playing well, and not being too low when we lose a couple of games in a row.”
Jack Clement is the player everyone wants to have on their team. He is the ultimate team player and represents Miami the way we all should. After all he has achieved throughout his career he remains humble and is always looking forward.
Here are some of Jack’s accomplishments through the years:
Two Time state Champion in High School
First Team All-Rookie Team with Shreveport
NCHC Rookie of the Week
Miami Hockey’s Dr. Phillip Shriver Rookie of the Year
Three-time member of the NCHC Academic All-Conference team
Two-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete
Miami Hockey’s Tom Brown Unsung Hero Award
Blocked 57 shots a team-high in 2019-2020
Scored a shorthanded goal at Ferris State to force overtime
Played 94 of 95 games as of the 21-22 season
Blocked 60 shots last season, with a career-high six against Omaha