For years, lacrosse has taken a backseat to hockey for Sam and Adam Jones.
Adam, 21, guarded blue lines for the Summerland Steam in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for two seasons, while younger brother Sam, 19, split a season with the B.C. Hockey League’s Penticton Vees and Cowichan Valley Capitals. The brothers from Bermingham, England headed for their homeland to play professionally in the England Premier Ice Hockey League. Adam with the Telford Tigers and Sam with Milton Keynes Lightning.
“It was a great experience. It was probably the funnest year of hockey I have ever had,” said Sam. “I definitely wouldn’t change moving over there for anything.”
“It was really fun,” said Adam, who felt the same as Sam about the year, but is now seeking a contract with a new team. “I wasn’t sure what to expect with being 20 years old and playing with 40 year old guys.”
The hockey future is uncertain because Adam said the league isn’t there anymore.
Back in Penticton where their parents call home, the Jones are taking advantage of a break from hockey to suit up for the South Okanagan Flames. And they have made an instant impact. Flames coach Kevin Thompson said they bring athleticism and are really good athletes. Thompson coached Sam in lacrosse five years ago.
“It was just a big boost. They are positive for the team,” said Thompson. “They are work horses.”
Adam has suited up for three games and has taken on a defensive role, while Sam has been moved up front from defence. In seven games, he has six goals and 10 points. Sam is enjoying the box game and being around his teammates.
“It’s just good to be back playing again,” said Sam, who likes the physicality of the sport.
“I think it’s fun just to be hanging out with a good group of guys,” said Adam. “I like the physicality, it’s fast paced, physical.”
Playing together isn’t new to the brothers. They have played hockey and lacrosse together. What has changed is their maturity with how they are against each other.
“We used to go at it more when we were younger,” said Adam. “Now still, but not to the point where we are getting into fights in practice. We never got hurt.”
Doing a drill against each other, they would clash.
When it comes to the success the Flames can have this season, Sam feels they can go far as long as they are on the same page. On June 12, the Flames lost 15-14 to the Armstrong Shamrocks. The Flames had a 7-3 lead after the first, but then were outscored 12-7 in the second and third period combined. Their next game is Saturday in Vernon against the Tigers, who they host on Monday at Memorial Arena at 7:30 p.m.
Adam feels they can do good things in the playoffs.
“We just have to keep plugging away. Bring the right effort every game,” said Adam.