DJ Jones will be the answer if it ever becomes a trivia question.
By committing to West Point, the United States Military Academy, Jones is the first Penticton Vees player to do so. The announcement was made Monday that Jones will continue his hockey career with the Black Knights. Jones is also the first member in his family to choose the military as a career path.
“That’s kind of the funny thing about it,” said Jones. “I had a great uncle who served in the military. He was a doctor.”
The 19-year-old’s interest in the military is what sparked his decision to contact the school in September. Since Jones was in middle school, he recalled being intrigued by history lessons.
“It’s one of those things where you can get the best of both worlds. The education aspect and the hockey aspect,” said Jones on his decision. “The education aspect was pretty important to me and my family. Those military institutions are top schools.”
And Jones won’t have to worry about chopping any long locks from his head. He has always sported a close cut.
“I try to be a clean cut kid,” said Jones, now sporting a decent playoff beard. “Something my parents have always been on me for. Try to have a good image for yourself.”
Of course he knows he won’t be able to keep it when he does go to West Point in the fall of 2013.
“I told my parents I might come home with it,” he said smiling.
After being released from the Surrey Eagles prior to Christmas, where he scored one goal and added four assists in 26 games, he finished with a goal and seven points in 24 games with the Vees. Jones, who played with Vees rookie Mario Lucia, sent an email to Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson about a chance to play.
“The guys couldn’t stop raving about him,” said Harbinson, when he asked the players about Jones.
Harbinson invited him to skate without any guarantees, and as Harbinson said, the rest is history. In committing to Army, Harbinson said that says a lot about the person Jones is.
“It takes a special person to be able to play for West Point,” he said. “DJ is one of the most dedicated players I have ever coached. It goes without saying that he possesses all characteristics of a natural leader.”
West Point has been in existence since 1903 and plays in the Atlantic Hockey Conference and in 2008 won their first conference title, the Atlantic Hockey Regular Season Championship.
“It’s just a very historic institution. Right when you step on campus, you can feel the history there,” said Jones. “It’s a pretty special place. Their hockey program is rebuilding right now. I’m excited to be a part of that.”