Big rookie making bigger impact with Bisons
Thursday, Feb 08, 2018 06:00 am
As the 2017-18 Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League season heads into its final month of the regular season, CFR Chemical Bisons forward Jett Jones has emerged as one of the team’s most consistent players.
The 15-year-old first-year came into the 2017-18 season with big hopes, aiming to make the jump from major bantam up to midget AAA – a goal he achieved when he was named to the Bisons starting roster.
“All summer, people were telling me I had a good shot but it wasn’t until training camp that I thought I had a chance to make the team,” Jones said.
“I came into camp and I was playing physical, I wasn’t playing how most 15-year-olds would. I was one of the bigger guys, so I could throw my body around.”
As a player with size on his side, standing at 6’2”, Jones made the transition from bantam to midget hockey being just as big as – or bigger – than the players he is expected to go up against.
Despite his inexperience in the league, Jones has been an absolute force, leading the Bisons in goals with 16 and sitting near the top of the league-scoring race (seven goals behind Ridly Greig with the Lethbridge AAA Midget Hurricanes).
“I had a really hot start and I wasn’t expecting that,” Jones said. “At the start of the year I wasn’t comparing myself to those guys for goal-scoring, but now I’ve just got to try to get past them in these last couple of games.”
While he may be one of the youngest players on the Bisons this season, Jones has been a major catalyst for his team – contributing about a fifth of the team’s goals this season.
The forward said having a season like this is a major confidence booster after not hearing his name called in the Western Hockey League (WHL)’s Bantam Draft last May.
Although he wasn’t selected by a team, Jones was invited to the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ training camp in the summer. He was ineligible to play in the WHL this season and was returned to midget hockey after camp, but found out he was listed by the Hurricanes soon after and hopes to play a part in the team’s future.
Jones said his cousin, Zane Jones, spoke highly of the Hurricanes organization, which is why he opted to join Lethbridge’s camp.
The forward says he checks his cousin’s stats to see where he stands in comparison and uses it to encourage improvement.
“I don’t think I’m doing quite as well in the penalty minutes part, but I think I’m getting pretty close to him in points,” Jones said. “I just want to pass him, then I can brag to the family.”
Despite this season being an experience-gaining year, Jones said he has enjoyed his time playing in Airdrie and looks forward to trying out for the Hurricanes and signing a contract.