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Back on home ice: Warriors' Jones returns to Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw Minor Hockey product plays first game for Tribe since joining team in trade with Victoria
Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Nolan Jones was likely a touch more familiar with his surroundings compared to most of the team’s newcomers this past weekend.

That’s because the 18-year-old rearguard has played close to 100 games at Mosaic Place in his career, what with him being a product of the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association and all.

Jones made his return to the Warriors organization on Thursday afternoon as the team acquired himself, goaltender Brock Gould, forward Logan Doust and a host of picks for forward Brayden Tracey and goaltender Adam Evanoff in the biggest deal of the 2020 WHL trade deadline.

“When I first heard of the trade, everyone has mixed emotions when they’re going to a new team, but also it was really a relief when you’re familiar with the place you’re going, especially when it’s your hometown,” Jones said after picking up an assist in his home ice debut on Saturday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers. “It’s nice having lots of support from everyone you know, friends and family, so it was a really good move.”

Jones popped onto the Western Hockey League radar when he put up 30 points in 30 games as a first-year Bantam in the 2014-15 season. He followed with 24 goals and 44 points the following year, and that was enough for the Lethbridge Hurricanes to take Jones in the second round of the 2016 Bantam Draft.

Two seasons and 76 games with the Moose Jaw Generals of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League saw Jones emerge as one of the league’s best defencemen while scoring 13 goals and 38 points in that span.

Jones would play 49 games in his rookie year with the Hurricanes last season, scoring twice and finishing with 12 points. An off-season trade sent Jones to the Victoria Royals, where he had a goal and six points to go along with 41 penalty minutes in 30 games this season.

That set the stage for last week’s trade – and while most players need to settle in with a new family and all that jazz, well, for Jones it was a matter of simply moving a suitcase or two back into his old bedroom.

“Yeah, not having to go through meeting new billets is nice, I get to live with the parents and everything so it’s good,” he said with a grin.

Now, the key going forward will be to help the Warriors get back on the winning track. The Tribe are currently in the midst of a four game losing skid and have one win in their last 10 after a 7-5 loss to Medicine Hat.

“It didn’t go the way we wanted to, the whole game the bounces didn’t go our way,” Jones said. “Team worked really hard and there are obviously a lot of things we can work on, and with a full week of practice coming up here we’ll be able to get better.”

Jones and the Warriors are back in action on Friday, Jan. 17 when they host the Prince George Cougars.