by Arch Ecker
From a roller rink in the small town of Abingdon, MD to playing college hockey for the Division I UCONN Huskies, Corey Jendras has logged a lot of miles and a lot of experience. Next on his agenda, he returns to Topeka, KS where he will skate with 18 other RoadRunner alumni against this season’s squad in the Second Annual RoadRunners Alumni Game.
Most players that advance in the NAHL have been playing hockey for as long as they can remember. There are those; however who buck the trend and such is the case for Corey Jendras. “I started playing roller hockey around the age of 5, but I didn’t start playing ice hockey till I was a peewee so around 13. A family friend who I played roller hockey with coached the local peewee ice hockey team and thought it would be an easy transition for me from roller to ice so I gave it a try.” He took to it like a fish to water. “I played my first 2 years of juniors in Maryland for the Washington Jr. Nationals”, he said. Soon, he knew he had to take drastic steps to pursue this newfound passion. “After my second year I knew I had to make the choice to move away from home. I went to try out for a team that I didn’t make but I was approached by Trevor Converse from the El Paso Rhinos. He told me about the team, the area, and the impact I would have and I was immediately sold on it.”
To say Jendras “tore up” the WSHL would be an understatement. With 33 goals and 66 assists in 34 games, he got the call to head up the road to join the Santa Fe RoadRunners. “When I got recruited to El Paso, there was always rumor about me possibly getting pulled up to Santa Fe. So, I continued to play hard and put up points until I got my chance.” He made the most of that chance, impressing his new head coach Scott Langer with 10 goals and 5 assists. “One of the best decisions I’ve made was to bring Corey up from El Paso. He instantly fit in character wise and no question was an instant threat to score on a nightly basis.” Alluding to his lethal wrist shots, Langer continued “Jendras possesses a very good shot and obviously has a knack for the net.” That knack for the net translated into a 30-goal season in 2007-08 after the team moved to Topeka. The 30-goal plateau (also reached by teammate Eriah Hayes that season) is good for third best all time in the franchise. Likewise his 69 point total that year is third highest in franchise history for a single season. Looking back, Jendras appreciates the path his career took. “I was fortunate enough to get to play in both Santa Fe and Topeka. I thought Santa Fe was a great place to play and had some great loyal fans. Coming to Topeka the following year, though, was the highlight of my junior career.” As has been known to happen to players over the years, Topeka left a lasting impression. “Playing in Topeka is what junior hockey is all about. The rink, the locker room, the fans, and the booster club were all unbelievable. I looked forward to coming to the rink everyday and stepping foot on that ice because I was proud to be playing in Topeka. I owe a lot of my success to the city of Topeka.”
Now a junior at U-Conn, Jendras is third all time in RoadRunner history in career Power Play goals with 20, trailing only former teammate and roommate Josh Kamrass (21) and Corey Stark (29).