BRYAN WILSON – 07.20.2023
At home in Waterloo, ON for the summer, Ben Jones has been pushing himself this off-season and looks ready to elevate his game come training camp.
Fresh off signing a one-year deal with the Flames on July 6, 2023, Jones is currently in a good spot in his hometown, surrounded by friends and family, while skating with a motivated group this summer.
“It’s going really well,” said Jones when asked about his summer training. “I’m really lucky in the area I’m in. We’ve got a lot of pro hockey players that skate out here, and we have a really good group that skates all summer, mixed with AHL and NHL guys. So, we’re lucky to be competitive and be able to push ourselves during the summer.”
Hockey is a foundational game for many Canadian kids, and the same goes for Jones, who played his minor hockey growing up in Waterloo. However, he was introduced to the game in a slightly more roundabout way than some of his peers.
“Growing up, hockey was kind of a weird thing for me to play, based on my parents,” revealed Jones. “My parents are both from the U.K., so they moved over here not knowing anything about hockey, neither of them knows how to skate or anything like that. So that was just what Canadian kids did, that’s what they thought and what their friends told them to do, so that’s how I got into hockey.”
The parenting decision certainly paid dividends, as the 24-year-old continues to develop into a solid two-way pro player and is coming off a career-year statistically last season with the Wranglers.
“Honestly, with the coaching that we had and the focus on the details, the little parts of the game, it really took over the big part of my game and helped me develop into a better pro and a better player,” explained Jones.
“Stats-wise, it’s never really been a big focus for me,” he continued. “I don’t need to score, say, 40 goals or ‘X’ number of assists, it’s not something I really set as a goal at the start of the year. Of course, I’m happy when the points come and with the numbers I had last year, I’m really happy about how it went.”
Jones finished the 2022-23 season with career highs in assists (37), points (54), powerplay goals (4), shorthanded goals (3), total shots (202) and games played (71). He also put up the best plus/minus numbers of his career (plus-28) which was ranked first in the AHL amongst forwards.
The latter statistic was news to Jones, who likes to stay hyper focused during the season, perfecting the finer details on the ice that will help make him a more complete player.
“I didn’t even realize that’s where I stood at the end of the year,” he chuckled, when told about his plus/minus rating. “I’m not really a stats person, I couldn’t even tell you how many points or whatnot that I got last season. I am more focused on the secondary stats, like faceoffs and I guess plus/minus too. I really take pride in not getting scored on and then chipping in offensively when I can, so I guess you can argue that plus/minus is a big stat for me.”
“For me it’s more about focusing on my 200-foot game and that’s something that will be important for me to get to the next level. So, I want to make sure I’m rock solid defensively and then let the offence come from there.”