Jones confident he can give Tips an offensive lift

EVERETT — It may have turned out to be a fruitless endeavor, but Zane Jones was determined to get to Everett in time for Friday’s Silvertips home game against the Tri-City Americans.

Jones was on the bus with the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday afternoon when a trade was completed sending the 19-year-old winger to Everett in exchange for defenseman Micheal Zipp. When the bus arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan, Jones was informed of the deal.

Jones wanted to get to Everett as soon as possible. However, there was one problem: His passport was still in Calgary. Therefore, Jones had to hop on a flight from Regina to Calgary on Thursday night. He packed up his belongings that night and grabbed another flight the following day from Calgary to Vancouver, then was to be chauffeured from Vancouver to Everett by Tips billet coordinator, Lisa Rody, in time for Friday’s game.

But things didn’t go quite as planned.

“The flight was delayed an hour and a half,” Jones explained prior to Saturday’s game at Tri-City. “Lisa picked me up to drive through the border, but I got caught up at immigration for another hour and a half.”

As a result, Jones didn’t arrive in Everett until the first period was completed Friday, meaning his Tips debut was delayed until Saturday in Kennewick. But he’s ready to be the player the Tips need.

Everett acquired Jones less than 24 hours before the trade deadline. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Olds, Alberta, seemed to be in a comfortable position as the trade deadline approached, being a veteran contributor to a Calgary team right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race. Therefore, the trade to Everett came as a complete shock.

Nevertheless, Jones seemed to have a positive attitude toward the trade.

“I was happy to be going to a great place,” Jones said. “I talked to (former Silvertip and current Hitman) Linden Penner about it, and he said it was an awesome place to play for the short time he was there. I’m happy to get a fresh start.”

Jones is in his third season in the WHL, having amassed 46 goals and 54 assists in 180 career games. This season he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 42 games with the Hitmen. His offensive production has picked up of late as he tallied three goals and four assists in his final four games with Calgary.

“I’m a big power forward who finishes his checks and plays hard every night,” Jones said.

It’s no secret the Silvertips were seeking secondary scoring at the trade deadline. Does Jones believe he can fill the void?

“I believe I can, absolutely,” he said. “I’m just going to go to the net hard and try putting in loose pucks.”

Though he didn’t arrive in time to play Friday night, he did get his first look at his new team, which used four third-period goals to beat Tri-City 6-3. So what was his first impression?

“I saw a big, hard-working, fast team,” Jones said. “Very structured, and a team that can turn on the offense when it needs to, as we saw in the third period.

“I think it will work out well. It’s a big team and I should fit in well.”

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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