This past week, the Summerland Steam and the Telford Tigers announced that Steam defenseman Adam Jones has inked a deal to play pro in the UK’s English Premier League.
No, not that English Premier League.
This is pro hockey, in the EPIHL, the English Premier Ice Hockey League. It is considered division II pro in the UK, a level below the Elite Ice Hockey League, where from time to time you can find an old NHL name like Eric Cairns, Paul Bissonnette, or the late Wade Belak playing amongst it’s ranks.
Jones earned his way back to the UK, where he grew up and learned the game, with a solid two-way style of play and an ability to see the ice that was beyond the level of KIJHL hockey. For the past two seasons the Okanagan Hockey Academy alum (2010 – 2013) has been the Summerland Steam’s Top Defenseman, collecting 32 points (10G, 22A) in 98 career KIJHL games while being firmly on the positive side of the +/- battle every single night. He was a leader on the 2015/16 edition of the Summerland Steam, wearing an ‘A’ and helping the team finish the most successful season in team history with 34 regular season wins and a run to the Okanagan Shuswap Conference Final.
The opportunity came about for Adam after being discovered by Telford Tigers Head Coach Tom Watkins during the 2013/14 season, when Jones played for the Lower Austrian Stars (U20) and for Great Britain’s U20 team. You can read the Telford Tigers release on the signing HERE. His two-way play and vision on the ice are cited in the article as a couple of the many reasons there was interest from back home.
After five successful years in North America and a pit stop with the Lower Austrian Stars, Jones (along with younger brother Sam, Milton Keynes Lightning) goes back to the UK to play as what the EPIHL considers a ‘Homegrown Player’, after having been raised in the UK. He does so after also receiving a $500 bursary from the KIJHL for his outstanding efforts both on the ice and away from it.
The Summerland Steam organization wishes Adam and his brother Sam (former Steam AP, 2014/15) all the best in both their hockey careers and their live as they move halfway across the world to take a shot at pro hockey.
Keep livin’ the dream, boys!