Avs Story – David Jones

In this exclusive interview, Colorado Avalanche Cares was able to sit down with Right Winger David Jones. David talks about his youth sports experience, how he was discovered, and gives great advice to both youth hockey players and their parents.

Colorado Avalanche Cares: What sports did you play growing up?
David: “Everything. I played a lot of baseball, soccer and a little football when I was younger plus rugby in high school and basketball. Baseball, hockey and soccer were my top three.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: Who taught you how to skate?
David: “My old man. Probably from the time I was old enough to walk he had a pond in my backyard in Ontario. I was skating as soon as I could walk.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: When did you start playing hockey exclusively?
David: “Even when I played Junior B I still played a little bit of soccer. It kept me in good shape. In that league we only practiced twice a week and had a few games each week. I still love to play soccer. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: What is your greatest memory of playing youth hockey?
David: “I played summer hockey for a team called the Vancouver Selects. We used to travel all over and our team was unbelievable. We won a lot of championships and tournaments. I used to travel to Minnesota every year for a big tournament, so that was probably the highlight of each summer.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: Describe the role your parents had in your youth hockey experiences. What impact did they have?
David: “They were everything. From the 5:00 a.m. practices to their commitment, my parents were great. My dad just loved it. When I played at Dartmouth I don’t think he missed more than five games every year and he’s in Vancouver, all the way on the other side of the country. My parents were really supportive and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: Who was the most influential person to your hockey career?
David: “I think my dad, because he taught me everything I know. He took so much time out of his day to help me develop. He’s the first person I call after every game so I kind of get the tough criticism from him; the kind of helpful critique that some other people won’t give you.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: Where was or is your favorite place to play hockey?
David: “I’ve only been there once, but it has to be back home in Vancouver playing against the Canucks. During the one game I was there this year we won in a shootout and it was unbelievable.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: What advice do you have for parents of youth hockey players?
David: “Don’t put too much pressure on your kids. A lot of times in youth hockey the parents get more wrapped up in the game than the kids. You hear stories about parents getting into fights in the stands and I don’t think there’s room for that. Encourage your kids, but don’t pressure them. Don’t try to live through them.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: What advice would you give youth hockey players?
David: “Just go out, have fun and work hard. There might be times when you go to the rink and it’s not all that great, but you just have to push through those days. As long as you’re still having fun, you should keep doing it and keep playing hard.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: How do you handle adversity?
David: “I’m a pretty positive guy and I’ve had a couple of injuries. In juniors I broke my ankle and was pretty frustrated but you just have to know that the next day is a new day. Be positive about whatever you have going. There are a lot of people in the world who are worse off than you.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: When did you first believe you might play in the NHL?
David: “I guess when I was playing college after my sophomore year. I was playing with some good players and started to put up some pretty decent numbers. You look around and see guys who are graduating from the college ranks and playing pro. Around then Colorado came out and watched me a couple of times, so I thought they must think I have something to bring to the table. Then in my third year in college I had a pretty good year, so I thought I was ready to make the jump.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: What was your route to the NHL?
David: “It’s funny actually. When I was younger I was only cut from one AAA team and that’s actually the coach that I’m closest with now. I got cut and a couple of guys didn’t live up to their expectations, so they were sent down and I was brought up and played the rest of the year. To this day, I give him a hard time about it. I skate with him a lot in the summers and he’s a great coach. I played AAA and played Junior B when I was 16 years old. After that, I went to Junior A for three years. Then I was drafted and committed to Dartmouth, where I played for three years.”

Colorado Avalanche Cares: How does “keeping the game fun” play a role in youth hockey?
David: “I think it’s huge. I’m the first one to say that it’s not always fun to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to go and practice, then go to school all day. But I think a lot of it has to do with the coaches. Many youth hockey programs take themselves too seriously, but I think if you have good positive coaches you’ll love the game.”
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