Nicholas Jones is making five Penticton Vees set to join the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
The Vees announced on Monday that Jones has committed to the National Collegiate Athletic Division 1 program joining Gabe Bast, Dixon Bowen, Tyson Jost and Colton Poolman. Jones will join the Fighting Hawks in 2017-18.
Jones said UND’s reputation speaks for itself.
“We have four good guys going there and it’s a fantastic program with a great group of coaches, and I feel UND gives me the best opportunity to be in a winning program and become a pro hockey player,” said Jones in a team statement.
The 19-year-old finished fifth in team scoring in the regular season with 21 goals and 63 points in 42 games. The Edmonton product most recently won the Vees’ Most Sportsmanlike award and came to the team in late October, after playing parts of two seasons at Ohio State University. Prior to joining Ohio State, Jones had a decorated junior career with the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). In the 2013-14 season with the Crusaders, Jones finished third in AJHL scoring with 72 points in 52 games and his 41 goals was the most in the league; he also had a league-best 16 power-play goals. That season, Jones was a unanimous selection to the AJHL’s North Division All-League team. In two seasons in the AJHL, Jones compiled 52 goals and 96 points in 100 career games.
UND plays in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and under head coach Brad Berry, they’ve already clinched a share of the NCHC regular season championship. UND is ranked second in both national polls this season and have played in the last two Frozen Four tournaments. Jones is the 15th player on this season’s roster to secure an NCAA Division l commitment. Alumni that have recently played at UND include Troy Stecher, Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell and Wade Murphy.