Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - Submitted by Peter Lambert
Zane Jones’ great uncle is Hockey Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald.
But this fact isn’t even close to being the most interesting in Zane Jones’ backstory.
In 1976, six Australians moved to Canada, following a hockey dream.
James and Patsy Ann Jones, and their four boys loved the game enough to leave their Sydney beachside life behind and start a new one on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
One of their boys, Scott, lived the hockey life and married into Albertan hockey royalty – Sandi Jones is the niece of Lanny McDonald, the Calgary Flames captain whose personality and bushy red moustache were emblematic of the 1989 Stanley Cup champions.
Now in 2017, the story comes full circle with Zane returning to his fathers’ birthplace to play for the Goodall Cup, as his grandpa did for New South Wales decades ago.
“I’ve only visited Australia once before this so everything will be fairly new and exciting," Jones said.
"I have relatives here, so I am looking forward to being able to share this experience with them and let them show me around."
Jones, a dual citizen, considers himself Canadian.
But after one previous visit to Australia was curious enough to further explore the other half of his heritage.
Jones said the Northstars' winning culture made Newcastle and easy decision.
“My head coach at the U of L [University of Lethbridge, Alberta] gave me contact information, which led me to look up the team online," Jones said.
"Based on what I found, I thought it would be a great fit."
The powerful WHL and University of Lethbridge winger loves the physicality of hockey and uses his frame to his advantage, at 191cm (6’3”) and 95kg is quite capable of doing so.
“I play left wing," he said.
"My playing style can be described as… a big power forward that hits to open up the ice and likes to score goals."
Aside from exploring Australia and making new friends in hockey, Jones wants his time to honour his parents and grandparents, both on and off the ice.
“I am excited to head down under and to play for the Goodall Cup as my grandfather did years ago," he said.
“Fortunately, and a bit ironically, my grandma and a few other family members will now be coming back to Australia from Canada to watch hockey."
Jones meets his teammates on Tuesday night at practice and will start his AIHL career with the longest trip in the AIHL – from Newcastle to Sydney, to Adelaide, to Perth, to Sydney and then home – a round trip of around 8000km.
The Proski Newcastle Northstars begin their 2017 home season on Saturday, April 29 versus the Sydney Bears at 5pm.