As the Brampton Thunder have faced the absence of franchise legends such as Gillian Apps and Jayna Hefford since the autumn of 2013, Jess Jones is one of the skaters that has worked valiantly to fill that gap. With the franchise in contention for a postseason berth this season, Jones has been one of the key catalysts on offense.
This season, Jones has registered a pair of two-point performances. Of note, her first points this season came on November 15 versus the Montreal Stars. Logging a power play goal against Charline Labonte, it would also prove to be the game winning goal against the Stars. Logged in the second period, the assists were credited to longtime Brampton veteran Jennifer Kirk and Dania Simmonds.
For her efforts, Jones was recognized as one of the players selected for the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game. Selected eighteenth overall by Team Red in the CWHL All-Star Frozen Fantasy Draft, she found herself lined up across a familiar face selected by Team White.
Of note, Team White’s acquisition was Michelle Bonello, a blueliner that shares a special hockey thread with Jones. Both are part of the famed Mercyhurst Lakers women’s hockey program that has dominated NCAA hockey for a decade.
Taking into account that Lakers alumnae includes Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram, Vicki Bendus, Jesse Scanzano and Kelley Steadman (who have all played in the CWHL), it was Jones and Bonello who earned the privilege of being the first Lakers to compete in the historic game. In discussing the historic first, it was a great point of pride for Jones,
“I was honored, a great feeling. Mercyhurst is a great program. To show what we can do, I am very proud. Being on the ice with her was a great feeling.”
This season, Bonello is not the only Lakers alum to share a special milestone with Jones. Having not graced CWHL ice since October 2012, Jesse Scanzano (a member of the NCAA’s 200-point club) is staging her hockey comeback with the Brampton Thunder.
Jones has enjoyed the opportunity to play with Scanzano, whose comeback represents another feel-good story for a Brampton franchise looking to accelerate its rebuilding program. Of note, Jones would contribute to an inspiring performance on December 7.
Not only would Jones earn the assist on a goal scored by Scanzano at the 3:28 mark of the second period, it would stand as the game winner. As a side note, Jones and Scanzano earned an assist on a goal scored by Laura Fortino earlier in the second.
“We were linemates all three years at Mercyhurst. It is fun play together again. We have the chemistry we still had then”
On such strong momentum, Jones would follow that game with the chance to play in the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game. Contested at the Air Canada Centre, the chance to grace the same ice was not only surreal, but it was a moment that Jones promises to cherish,
“It was a cool feeling being on the same ice like NHL players. This is something I will remember the rest of my life.”
Part of the victorious Team Red squad, Jones had the opportunity to play alongside fellow Brampton teammates such as Jamie Lee Rattray, who would log the game winning goal, and Erica Howe, the first goalie to earn an All-Star win. In a season where Brampton’s positive turnaround may be one of the league’s most inspiring stories, the All-Star experience has certainly contributed a great chapter. One that has also made a great impression on Jones,
“I am ecstatic, it was very exciting to play with some of the best players in the world. I was very honored to be a part of it.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Brandon Taylor, CWHL Images