Wed. Aug 17th, 2022

Sometimes after a great leader leaves a team, there are questions about who will fill the role. Who has that perfect combination of leadership and skill? Who can the team count on day in and day out? The WCU Golden Rams hockey team did not have those questions. They had Steve Jones.

Jones began his WCU career during the 2007-08 season. He had just graduated from Morris Knolls High School in New Jersey, with a state championship and First Team All-State honors under his belt. He was also an all-star with the Jersey Wildcats of the EJHL .

From the very start, there was no question Jones was going to play a huge role for the Rams.

In his first season, the six-foot tall defenseman tallied 30 points in 36 games. Jones’ stellar performance was enough for him to make the 2007-08 ECHA All-Star Game and ECHA All-Tournament Team.

From that point on he never looked back. In the following three years, Jones made two ECHA All-Star Teams, two ECHA All-Tournament teams, two Wheeling Invitational All-Tournament Teams, and two ACHA All-Star Teams.

In addition, he was named 2008-09 First Team ECHA, 2009-10 First Team All-ESCHL, 2009-10 ACHA All-American, 2010-11 Second Team All-ESCHL, and 2010-11 WCU captain.

The voting for 2010-11 ACHA All-American players has not finished yet, but nobody would be surprised if Jones captured his second All-American honor.

Jones also proved he could hurt teams in more ways than just with his checks. In four seasons with the Rams, he scored 139 points. Jones had 38 goals and 101 assists. This past season, he surpassed his season high in points (42), goals (15), and assists (27).

Head Coach Shawn Dorsey had only positives to say about Jones’ game. “He has good size, tremendous speed, and his ability to see the ice is truly amazing,” Dorsey said. “He is very solid in his defensive zone, and he is a constant offensive threat, with a great scoring touch, a great set of hands, and excellent play-making abilities.”

Playing for four years with WCU, Jones has had many incredible memories. When asked about his most memorable moment, Jones said, “There was nothing like getting my first career goal against the University of Delaware.but my most memorable moment was the trip to the final four. The run we went on sophomore year, the players around me, just the whole experience was special.” That is just the type of person he is. He always puts his team first and himself second.

Jones’ talent on the ice was enough to make him one of the best players to ever play at WCU. However, his leadership qualities and passion for the game are what his teammates and coaches found most impressive.

“He scored countless big goals for our team over the years, but more importantly was a great teammate. He was passionate about hockey and WCU, and brought that intensity and love for the game everyday,” said alternate captain Tom Scocozza.

Not only did Jones bring passion to every game, he taught young players how to set examples and step up when the team needs a leader.

“I certainly learned a lot from him this year on how to be a good team leader,” alternate captain Steve Meade said. “He was a quiet kid, but spoke up when necessary and had a lot of respect from his teammates, not only because he was the captain, but because of the type of player he was”

Jones credits others with making him who he is today.

“Everything I did on and off the ice, I thought of my brother and if he did it better. He is my inspiration, the person I look up to in all aspects of life, especially hockey. throughout my four years I have been fortunate to be playing with some great guys and had played under a great coaching staff.

“I have played with a couple All-Americans that have paved the way for me and also some role players that would do anything for West Chester hockey. Many of my peers have set a good examples for me to strive for success, and I hope to instill it in the players I have played with.” He has been instilling those values in his teammates every time he steps on the ice.

Jones’ run at WCU was incredible, but he feels like the team will flourish in his absence. Jones said, “I feel this team’s future is bright. Not only do they have a coaching staff willing to make the program better, but a young group of players that shows they want to be there day in and day out.”

The future of The WCU hockey team is not the only future that looks bright. Many of Jones’ teammates and coaches believe he has what it takes to play at the next level professionally.

Scocozza was quick to voice his opinion about Jones’ future: “He will have no problem playing at the next level if he chooses because of his skills and intangibles that have made him so important to the West Chester program.”

Dorsey, who played professionally himself, also believes in Jones’ future in hockey. “Steven undoubtedly has the skill to be an effective player at the next level. His will to succeed, along with his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win, make him a potential asset to any team.”

Whether he plays professionally or not, Jones’ impact on the players and coaches at WCU will be felt for a long time. There is no doubt that whomever he passes his jersey to will have huge skates to fill.

Kenny Ayres is a first-year student majoring in communications. He can be reached at KA739433@wcupa.edu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.