Just not to Everett.
Reports surfaced Monday that the ultra-talented defenseman and former Everett Silvertips bantam draft pick has signed to play with the Portland Winterhawks next season.
The Portland Tribune reported on its website Monday that Jones signed a WHL education contract with the Winterhawks on Saturday, and that an official announcement will be made today.
"I'm very excited about it because I was able to get comfortable with the coaching staff and the facilities," Jones told the Tribune. "The pro schedule was big for me, and this was just a gut feeling I have."
The Silvertips originally selected the 17-year-old Jones, who's considered a potential top-five selection in the 2013 NHL draft, 11th overall in the 2009 bantam draft. Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, would have gone higher, but there were questions about whether the Dallas native would choose to play in the WHL or the NCAA.
Everett then spent the past three years courting Jones. However, Jones chose to play the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Former Tips general manager Doug Soetaert, the man who drafted Jones and did most of the courting, was dismissed in February.
New Tips general manager Garry Davidson continued to try and woo Jones, who completed his two-year stint with the National Team Development Program and was choosing between Everett and the University of North Dakota. However, a Jones representative informed the Tips two weeks ago that Jones would not play for Everett. Davidson said the representative did not provide a reason.
Davidson, formerly the Winterhawks director of player personnel, struck a deal with Portland, giving the Winterhawks a window to talk with Jones in exchange for a conditional bantam draft pick.
Another deal between Everett and Portland is required to transfer Jones' rights. Portland coach and general manager Mike Johnston told the Tribune: "We have the framework for that deal, and everyone is comfortable with it if we are able to sign him."
Check out Nick Patterson's Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
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