In popular culture, Jessica Jones is a superhero in the Marvel Universe. In the domain of ice hockey, the captivating heroics of Jessica (Jess) Jones has transformed her into more than one of the scoring superstars of her generation and an inspiring role model.
Establishing herself as a prime time player, Jones became the hottest free agent in the summer of 2017. Sought after for her skills, including strong leadership and an amazing consistency, which placed her into the top five all-time scoring list with the Brampton Thunder.
Headlining a prized free agent class for the defending Isobel Cup champion Buffalo Beauts, Jess Jones is one of the most underrated superstars in the game today. Having competed in the inaugural IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds, Jones is also a member of the NCAAs 150-point club. Capturing a European championship with Pantera Minsk, it was inevitable that she would return back to North America to continue her professional career.
In every one of her four seasons with the Thunder, she would improve on her point totals, culminating with a superlative 37-point campaign in an unforgettable 2016-17 season. Such a season also included Jones (along with Jillian Saulnier) scoring a hat trick at an All-Star event hosted at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Coincidentally, the 2017 edition of the NWHL All-Star Game also saw Amanda Kessel score a hat trick.
By season’s end, Jones was tied with Marie-Philip Poulin as the top scorer in the Canadian league. Poulin would capture the Angela James Bowl in lieu of more goals. Said season was truly the affirmation of Jones as one of the elites in professional women’s ice hockey. Undoubtedly, Jones enters the 2017-18 NWHL season with the potential to be the first Canadian-born player to capture the leagues scoring title.
“I think that would be an amazing accomplishment for sure. But that is definitely not something on my radar right now. I am just excited to have the opportunity to play and to defend the Isobel Cup.”
Poised to make an immediate impact, the arrival of Jones helps to extend two proud legacies in the Beauts unfolding narrative. From the outset, the Beauts have featured more Canadian-born players than any other team in the NWHL’s nascent history.
Such a legacy reached a new pinnacle at the 2017 Isobel Cup Finals, as five Canadians from the Beauts became the first from the hockey mad nation to hoist the treasured Cup. The list of distinguished Canadians that have worn the Beauts colors has included the likes of Shelby Bram, Harrison Browne, Lindsay Grigg, Amanda Leveille, Amanda Makela, Tatiana Rafter, Devon Skeats and Erin Zach, among others.
“I am very excited to continue in this legacy. Buffalo is a great organization and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
This season, Jones shall be joined by two other Canadian-born superstars, both familiar faces as she has already enjoyed the privilege of calling them teammates. Blueliner Sarah Edney and forward Rebecca Vint join Jones as part of a tremendous triptych of Thunder talent that opted to sign with the Beauts.
Akin to Jones, Edney has also played with Canada’s U18 national team, serving as team captain in 2011. She was also a teammate of Browne, who were both part of Ontario’s roster in ice hockey at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. Recording over 130 career points with the CHA’s Robert Morris Colonials, Rebecca Vint graduated as the programs all-time leading scorer. In 2015, she would capture a CBHA national championship with the Toronto Shamrocks before joining the Thunder for her rookie season. As a side note, she also competed with Jones at the All-Star event at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
“Being able to have the opportunity to play professional hockey is amazing and being able to play it along side two of my best friends makes it that much more enjoyable. Vint and I have been linemates for the past two seasons and hopefully we can continue that in Buffalo.”
Of note, the other legacy in Beauts history involves an impressive list of star players from the Mercyhurst Lakers to join their ranks. Based out of Erie, Pennsylvania (less than 100 miles west of Buffalo), the Lakers represented the first dynasty in the College Hockey American conference. Competing with the Lakers from 2008 to 2012, Jones would appear in the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four championship game, amassing 154 career points.
Other Lakers alums that have enjoyed stops in Buffalo included Browne (played one season in 2011-12), Bram, Emily Janiga, Makela and Kelley Steadman, who called Jones a teammate for four seasons in Erie. As a side note, Lakers alums Taylor Accursi and Katherine Donohue have also signed free agent contracts with the Beauts for the 2017-18 season.
Joining the Beauts should represent a seamless tradition for Jones. Along with Edney and Vint, all three should prove to be the element of a winning equation for the franchise. In this decade, the Western New York Flash womens soccer team captured back-to-back championships; staring with the 2011 Womens Professional Soccer title, followed by the Womens Premier Soccer League-Elite crown in 2012.
The Beauts hope to add to this great legacy by capturing their second straight Isobel Cup title in 2018. Should they reach this heights, it would mark the first time that a Buffalo-based team captured consecutive titles since the Buffalo Bisons captured Calder Cups in 1943 and 1944.
Other back-to-back championships in Buffalo have included the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League in 1964-65, consecutive lacrosse championships in 1992-93 for the Buffalo Bandits, along with a 1997 American Association championship and a 1998 International League for baseballs version of the Bisons.
Hoping to be the key piece to such championship ambitions, continuing to reverse the trend of the Buffalo Sports Curse, Jones approaches the season to come with tremendous eagerness. With mesmerizing numbers throughout her career, this sage of scoring holds both a tremendous drive to succeed and a penchant for big plays, elements that should transform her into a fan favorite for the Beauts,
“I’m really excited about the season in general. New team, new organization, new league. There are a lot of opportunities here and it is an exciting time for me. I’m very excited about all the changes and I can’t wait to get on the ice with my new teammates!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”