August 21, 2014, North Vancouver
Martin Jones, the 6’4″ North Vancouver goaltender who went from toiling unheralded in the minors to NHL Stanley Cup winner this season, returned to his old alma mater, at the North Shore Winter Club yesterday, to share his day with Stanley, with minor hockey kids at the rink where he played for four years, in the early 2000s.
The lanky 24 year old goaltender made headlines when he entered the NHL fray in December, by winning his first game and then recording two back to back shutouts to tie an LA Kings record for the best start by a rookie since 1969.
Jones, who played peewee and bantam at the Winter Club before moving on to Major Midget with the NW Giants, was selected in the fourth round of the 2005 WHL bantam draft, by the Calgary Hitmen.
A highlight of his NSWC career was winning the Quebec Peewee tournament under coach Todd Harkins. In Major Midget, Jones was selected to the AllStar game in 2006, a team coached by Jon Calvano.
Jones joined the Hitmen in 2006-07 and served as back up to Dan Spence for two years, before emerging as the starter in 2008-09 and going on a tear, posting a league leading 45 wins, tying for the lead with 7 shut outs, and finishing third overall with a 2.08 GGA.
He was overlooked in the NHL draft as an 18 year old, but offered a tryout with the Kings, who signed him to a three contract after a strong main camp, and then reassigned him back to the Hitmen.
In 2009-2010 he was named WHL goaltender of the year, and then won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2010 World Juniors, backing up Jake Allen. He started a preliminary game, winning 8-2 vs Slovakia, and then relieved Allen in the gold medal game against the US. eventually losing in OT for silver.
In 2012-13 Jones finished fourth in the AHL with 27 wins, and started the 2013-2014 season with Manchester before being recalled by the Kings on November 13, as a backup, when Jonathan Quick went down with an injury.
Three weeks later Jones made his NHL debut, earning a 3-2 win over the Ducks, stopping all 9 shoot-out attempts. Four nights later, he shut out the New York Islanders. In his next start, against the Canadiens, he posted another shut out, tying the LA Kings rookie goalie record for consecutive shut outs, with Gerry Desjardins (1968-69).
By December 22, Jones had established an astounding 8-0 record to match Bob Froese’s record of 8 straight winning starts with the Flyers in 1982-83. Jones then finally dropped a couple of decisions, but was named NHL co-rookie of the month to start the New Year (8-2-0, 1.29 GAA, .955 save average).
Two weeks later the Kings traded Scrivens to Edmonton for a third round pick, and Jones was a full time NHL goaltender, backing up Quick.
In a speech to the young players who gathered around him at the NSWC, Jones stressed the importance of working hard, believing in yourself, being patient, and waiting for an opportunity.
Jones spent over 3 hours at the club, and graciously posed for photos with the youngsters with the Cup at centre ice.
It will be day fondly remembered by hundreds of aspiring young players.