Jones brothers fly solo

Montrose identical twin brothers, Connor and Kellen Jones, will start the season on different hockey teams.

For the first time in their significant hockey lives, Montrose identical twin brothers, Connor and Kellen Jones, will start the season on different hockey teams.

Both Connor and Kellen Jones inked a deal with the New York Islanders’ affiliate Missouri Mavericks of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) late last month,  and then were invited to try out for the Islanders’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Following training camp and two exhibition games, the Tigers coaching staff decided to retain the services of Connor, while assigning Kellen to Missouri.

“It’s a little bitter-sweet, obviously,” said Connor in an email to the Times. “I would love Kel to be here too, to share this opportunity, but it’s still exciting for the both of us. I think it’s a new challenge for us and we’re both looking forward to the season starting.”

With  the NHL season set to hit the ice, the parent New York Islanders had been making cuts from its camp resulting in only a few spots remaining on Brideport’s roster. Connor, a centreman, filled a more pressing demand for the Tigers’ coaching staff than Kellen’s position on the wing.

“I think the morning when he (Kellen) got sent down, two wingers were sent down (to Bridgeport) from the Islanders so it helped that I’ve been playing center for a long time.”

The Jones brothers played most of their first year of professional hockey for the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate, Oklahoma City Barons, where Kellen netted 15 points in 49 games and Connor tallied 10 points in 41 games.

This past summer, they chose not to re-sign with an Oilers system already loaded with top draft picks including Connor McDavid, the first pick overall in the 2015 NHL entry draft.

“I’m excited to be part of a new staff, players, coaches, management, and getting the opportunity to show them what I can do,” said Connor. “I think it was like six years with the Oilers since Kelley was drafted in 2010 so it’s nice to get a fresh start.”

Tigers coach  Brent Thompson was also impressed with both Connor and Kellen during the tryout and  pre-season matches, telling the Connecticut Post, “The Jones brothers, to me, they’ve been great for us. They’ve opened a lot of eyes. They both brought a great element of work ethic and energy. You can see the skill.”

Kellen and Connor have spent their entire playing careers on the same line, on the same team. They have brought success to every team at every level, playing junior hockey with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the KIJHL, the BCHL’s RBC Cup winning Vernon Vipers, and four seasons at Quinnipiac University and an NCAA championship final appearance, before moving on to play professionally.

And while Connor and Kellen realized that playing professionally together might not be in the cards, the reality has been challenging in more ways than one.

“It’s always been a possibility, kind of crazy that we’ve been linemates for 12 years and we’ve never been on opposite teams,” said Connor. “It’ll take some getting used to, but I know we’re both capable of playing without one another, so we’ll definitely take the positives out of the situation.”

And the most pressing demand for the twins – “Difficult splitting up the clothes that we share,” joked Connor.

Connor’s time in Bridgeport will see a return to Connecticut, familiar territory for the Quinnipiac University graduate. He plays his first regular-season game with the Tigers when they open the AHL season Saturday against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

“I have high expectations for myself, think I always have. But being a second year pro I just want to contribute in any way that I can, whether it be offensively or defensively. With their expectations I’m not really sure, in the pre-season I played in pretty much every situation, so I’m hoping that carries its way into the year but I know I’ll have to work my way in and up the line up as well.”

Bridgeport plays in the Atlantic division of the AHL’s Eastern Conference and finished fifth last season with a 28-40-7 record.

The Mavericks play out of Independence, MO – nine miles from Kansas City and are owned by Lamar Hunt, Jr, son of late AFL founder, Kansas City Chiefs owner and MLS benefactor Lamar Hunt.

Kellen, a 2010 seventh round draft pick of the Oilers, will play his first game with the Mavericks in Anchorage, Alaska against the Alaska Aces on Monday.

Just Posted

Trail police release image of liquor store robber

The video surveillance image shows the robber aiming a black gun at the store’s clerk

More snow called for the Kootenays

Environment Canada issued the bulletin Tuesday under its “BC Traveller’s Routes forecast”

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

Sandblasting Silver City skate sign

The Trail Sk8 Park was closed on Thursday so workers could ready a sign for painting

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read