The Jones brothers are back together again, with Connor Jones set to join his twin brother Kellen in the Swedish hockey league in the new year.
Connor signed on with the Vasterviks IsHockey Klubb in Vastervik, Sweden last week, and will play in the 14-team HockeyAllsvenskan league.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity of playing again,” Connor told the Times from his home in New York. “With everything going on and leagues unsure if they will even be playing, I’m happy I got a spot with so many players out there looking for jobs.”
European leagues, like HockeyAllsvenskan, have benefitted from the shutdown of most North American professional leagues, with many players coming overseas looking for a chance to stay in game shape.
“From what I’ve heard and seen I know it’s a great league with lots of good young players and some really good imports too,” said Connor. “I know with the AHL and NHL season’s not starting and ECHL either, it’s allowed for some really good prospects to stick around, so it’ll be highly competitive.”
Last season the twins teamed up in Switzerland and played with HC Thurgau with Connor contributing eight goals and 27 points in 44 games, and Kellen 11 goals and 26 points in 36 games.
An opportunity to get on the ice and play together again couldn’t come at a better time for the 30-year-old Montrose product.
“I’m pumped to get back out there with Kel,” said Connor. “I have talked with him a lot about the season and his team, and hoping I can jump right in and get the Vernon Viper mojo back.”
Kellen started the year with Vasterviks, where he also played his 2018-19 season, notching 30 points in 53 games, and is also looking forward to the reunion
“I can’t wait for Connor to come here,” said Kellen in an online zoom interview with Marcus Aberg of VIK-TV. “He’s going to be a good fit for our team, and really fit well with the style of play that Vasterviks has and I think we’re lucky to have him for sure.”
Aberg met with the Connor and Kellen in an online interview Christmas Eve to introduce the most recent acquisition to the organization and fans. The entertaining conversation showed the easy-going but competitive nature of the twins.
“We played almost our whole lives together,” Connor said. “I’ve benefitted from him being on my right-left wing for a long time, so I’ll be excited to get back out there with him.”
The Swedish league has about 30 games remaining in its season. The top six teams automatically qualify for the playoffs, and the remaining eight teams battle for the final two playoff spots. Currently Vastervik is tied for sixth spot.
“We are happy to add Connor to the squad,” said Vastervik coach, Emil Georgsson, in a release. “A two-way center that is quite similar to his brother in the style of play, but a little more physical.
“In Connor, we get a player with routine, which we think will be valuable when we enter the second half of the season,” added Goergsson. “We feel that we need to get another forward in the squad now that Jonatan Davidsson went to NHL camp and Axel’s [Jonsson-Fjallby] situation is uncertain.”
Connor and Kellen have played together since minor hockey including a season with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, before moving on to the BCHL Vernon Vipers where they won two national championship RBC Cups. The pair also led the NCAA Quinnipiac University Bobcats to its first ever Frozen Four final, and went on to play together with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL.
Another BCHL alumnus and former Victoria Grizzly standout, Gerry Fitzgerald, currently leads Vasterviks in scoring.
Vastervik is a coastal city of about 21,000 residents in the province of Smaland in southern Sweden.
To see the interview go to Vastervik hockey online at vikhockey.se.