Growing up in Montrose, British Columbia, there was never a doubt that Kellen and Connor Jones, the twin sons of Loretta and Terry Jones, would play hockey.
Terry played for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League and moved on to play in Germany, while his father, Terry Jones Sr., was drafted in 1963 and played for the New Haven Blades, the former AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers.
The road to hockey success started early and often for Terry’s sons, the newest additions to Quinnipiac’s men’s team.
“There were always sticks around when we were really young,” Connor said.
Even their grandmother encouraged them to play hockey.
“We’re 2 years old and my grandma was throwing us balls and we were shooting tennis balls against the wall,” Kellen said.
And they haven’t stopped shooting since. Three full seasons with the Vernon Vipers built the Jones twins quite the résumé. Connor compiled 198 points while Kellen accumulated 173.
Still, Kellen feels that Connor is the better goal-scorer of the two.
But no matter who is better at scoring, they make for one skillful combination. And this has them playing on Quinnipiac’s top line with Scott Zurevinski this season.
“They have a great chemistry,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “They’ve played together for a long, long time. They’re a couple plays ahead of the other players.”
And the brothers are perfectly fine with that. It gives them a chance to push each other to be the best, Kellen said.
“We expect perfection from each other,” Connor said. “If he doesn’t make a behind-the-back, through-the-legs pass, I’m going to be pretty mad.”
This drive for perfection attracted Pecknold, even though they aren’t the biggest players on the ice. Both are listed at 5-foot-9.
“Their compete level is off the chart,” Pecknold said.
The twins made waves at Quinnipiac before they even stepped foot on the ice. On June 26, 2010 Kellen was drafted in the seventh round of the NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers, just the second Quinnipiac player to be drafted.
Kellen was not expecting to be drafted. He wasn’t even aware he had been drafted until he started receiving congratulatory messages.
“I was actually playing ball and decided to check what time it was,” he said. “I had a bunch of messages on my phone, probably four or five text messages saying ‘congrats.’ I’m like what the heck is going on, why are these people saying congrats?”
Only after he listened to a voicemail did he realize what had happened.
“After that the game went out the window,” Kellen said. “I just started to unravel.”
There were no hard feelings between the two when Connor was not drafted.
“I was just happy for him,” Connor said. “He deserves everything he got.”
The twins were invited to the Oilers’ Development Camp, where they got to play with some current and future NHL players. Included in that group was this year’s No.1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall.
“It was a great experience to see [the current players] and skate with all the new players,” Connor said.
Now that the twins have seen what lies ahead for them, there is only one thing on their minds.
“We came here to win,” Connor said.