A Jones For Success
Quinnipiac Twins Bring Spark to Bobcats
by Timothy O'Donnell/CHN Reporter
Growing up in Montrose, British Columbia, there was never a doubt that Kellen and Connor Jones, the twin sons of Loretta and Terry Jones, would play hockey. Terry played for Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and then moved on to play in Germany, while their grandfather, Terry Jones Sr., was drafted in 1963 and played for the New Haven Blades, the former AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers.
The road to hockey success started early and often.
“There were always sticks around when we were really young,” Connor said.
Even their grandmother encouraged them to play hockey.
“We’re two years old and my grandma was throwing us balls and we were shooting tennis balls against the wall,” Kellen said.
And they haven’t stopped shooting since. Three full seasons with the Vernon Vipers built the Jones quite the resume. Connor compiled 198 points while Kellen accumulated 173.
While the brothers both put up impressive numbers while at Vernon, Kellen feels that Connor is better goal scorer of the two.
“Connor’s probably better at putting the puck in the net, while I’m probably at passing,” he said.
But no matter who is better at scoring, they make for one skillful combination. And this has them playing on Quinnipiac’s top line with Scott Zurevinski this season.
“They have a great chemistry,” Pecknold said. “They’ve played together for a long, long time. They have a good grasp of the game. They’re a couple plays a head of the other players.”
And the brothers are perfectly fine with that. It gives them a chance to push each other to be the best, Kellen said.
“We expect perfection from each other.” Connor said. “If he doesn’t make a behind the back, through the legs pass, I’m going to be pretty mad.”
This drive for perfection really attracted Pecknold, even though they aren’t the biggest players on the ice. They are listed at 5-feet-9-inches.
“Their compete level is off the chart,” Pecknold said. “They want to be great at everything they do on the ice.”
Their ability to make plays no matter the speed of the game also caught Pecknold’s eye.
“They have a good grasp of the game,” Pecknold said. “They’re a couple plays ahead of a lot of the other players. Connor and Kellen can make plays without any time.”
The brothers made waves at Quinnipiac before they even stepped foot on the ice. On June 26, 2010 Kellen was drafted in the seventh round of the NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers, just the second Quinnipiac player to be drafted. (Goalie Pat McGann was drafted in 2005 by the Dallas Stars.)
“It’s pretty much a dream come true,” Kellen said. “It still hasn’t sunk it yet. Sometimes I just go back and think ‘Holy cow. You got drafted.’ Not everyone can say that.”
Kellen was not expecting to be drafted and was surprised to find out. He wasn’t even aware he had been drafted until he stated receiving congratulatory messages.
“I was actually playing ball and decided to check what time is,” he said. “I had a bunch of messages on phone, probably four or five text messages saying ‘congrats’. I’m like what the heck is going on, why are these people saying congrats?”
Only after he listened to a voicemail did he realize what had happened.
“After that the game went out the window,” Kellen said. “I just started to unravel.”
And even though they are both very competitive and push each other on the ice, there were no hard feelings between the two when Connor was not drafted.
“I was just happy for him,” Connor said. “He deserves everything he got.”
Afterwards both brothers were invited to the Oilers’ Development Camp, where they got to play with some current and future NHLers. Included in that group was No.1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall.
“It was pretty cool,” Connor said.
The brothers really enjoyed hanging out with the likes of Jordan Eberle and Hall, Connor said.
The Jones family trophy collection includes a Memorial Cup from Terry Jr., and two Royal Bank Cup Championships, the national championship for Junior ‘A’ hockey in Canada, from the brothers. Also in there is Connor’s 2009 RBC Tournament Top Forward Award, and Kellen’s Tubby Schmalz Trophy, for most sportsmanlike player during the 2010 RBC Tournament. And now the Jones are search of another trophy, the ECAC Championship.
“We came here to win,” Connor said.
And who knows, the ECAC Championship might just be within their reach.