Published: Thursday, 22 Feb 2018  
By: Kevin Gier, St Louis Jr. Blues

You’d expect a major contributor on a team that finished 3rd place in all of Canada at the midget AAA level in 2016-17 to stay home for his junior career, potentially at the OHL level. But that wasn’t the case for Dante Jones, who after a great year with the Mississagua Rebels outside of his hometown of Toronto went overlooked at home and decided to cross the border to America to make his claim.

“It’s an entirely different style of game up there. I was more of a grinder on teams back home,” notes Jones, and added that junior teams in Canada wanted him to continue in that role when he felt he had something more to prove.

To do this, the 6’, 163 lbs lefty came to several junior camps in the US, and it was at one of these where his play caught the eye of St. Louis Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher.

“I remember him being absolutely everywhere on the ice: blocking shots, using his speed on the wall, just electric out there,” said Flaugher of Jones. He went on to offer Jones a spot on the team for 2017-18, which Jones duly accepted.

Once arriving in St. Louis, Jones admitted that the transition from Toronto to Missouri was a bit of a culture shock, in addition to the Jr. Blues’ grueling conditioning regimen. However, he found guidance in his new teammates: “I looked at a couple players at the start of the year, people like [Jack] Hatton, and wanted to mirror their style of play. Now,” said Jones, “it’s all coming together.”

Indeed it is: Jones has caught fire in 2018, scoring nine points (3 G, 6 A) in the month of January and at the time of writing having a six-game point-scoring streak in February to push his yearly totals to 12 goals and 25 assists. He has been named in the Bauer/NA3HL weekly honors four times (once as First Star, once as Second and twice as an honorable mention) and even when not registering on the scoresheet impressing coaches in other ways.

“Dante’s workrate is arguably the best we’ve got right now on this team,” noted Flaugher. “Whatever role he’s been asked to play he’s done it and done it extremely well. We’re extremely lucky to have a player like Dante on our team this year.”

Next up for Jones is a trip to Plymouth, Michigan, to represent the Jr. Blues at the NA3HL’s Top Prospects Tournament. “Dante’s earned his ticket up to Detroit this year, and for him right now the sky really is the limit,” Flaugher added. “He’ll get the chance to play in front of hundreds of NAHL and college scouts, and we know he will make the most of this opportunity.”

Author: Kevin Gier from St Louis Jr. Blues

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