The Victoria Shamrocks have turned to a family steeped in lacrosse tradition in adding Mitch Jones to their lineup for the 2013 Western Lacrosse Association season.
“I played against his dad,” Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes said of Randy Jones, a former two-time Western Lacrosse Association scoring champion, four-time first or second-team all-star and five-time Mann Cup finalist while playing with the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Vancouver Burrards. “He was a great, honest two-way player.
“He was a star when I played and definitely a guy we had to watch out for. He’s scored a few goals on me. I stopped a few, too,” Heyes added with a chuckle.
And then there’s Randy’s brother, Paul, the WLA’s unsung hero award winner in 1984 and an equally talented player, who along with his Randy remains in Canada’s senior or major lacrosse Top 50 in all-time total assists in regular and post-season play.
Mitch’s older brother Jason also toils with the Coquitlam Adanacs of the WLA.
“Just look at the lineage, he comes by being a lacrosse player honestly with the bloodlines that are there,” Heyes said of his newest recruit. “If we can get him to do here what his dad did, we’ve got a keeper, thats for sure.”
A tall order for Mitch, whose six-foot-three, 205-pound frame is an imposing sight.
“Dad was a hell of a player,” said Mitch, who joined the Shamrocks this week. “He actually told me one of his regrets was he never came to Victoria. He had a chance to play here. He was part of the process, too, in selecting Victoria as a place for me to play. He told me to come here.”
What the Shamrocks receive in Mitch is an all-round athlete who also plays hockey at the University of Northern Michigan.
“He’s a pretty amazing specimen and he’s only 21,” said Shamrocks general manager Chris Welch. “In fact, he won’t be 22 until December. The youngest player on our team, by quite a ways.
“He’s a big athletic kid. An NCAA hockey player with the Northern Michigan Wildcats. He’s a pretty special athete and a pedigree, too. Jason Jones, as you’ll remember, took [Victoria goaltender] Matt Flindell out in the playoffs last year,” said Welch.
Mitch Jones, who got into town on Monday, is also a Minto Cup winner (like his brother) and this weekend will be off to Langley — which was also in te running for his WLA services — as a member of the Washington Stealth as they face the Rochester Knighthawks in the championship final of the National Lacrosse League.
His assistat coach there, Art Webster, is also an assistant with the Shamrocks and helped sway the young man to Vancouver Island.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Jones, who won the Minto Cup last season in Orangeville, Ont. “It was a pretty easy decision. I had a couple of teams calling and Victoria seemed like the best place to be. Everyone I talked to, I didn’t hear a bad thing about Victoria.
“I think we’re going to be a real strong team. I’m coming here to work hard and hope for the best,” added Jones who will get a chance to open the season against his brother Jason and the Adanacs on May 17 at Bear Mountain Arena.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Mitch said with a grin. “That will be pretty cool. I’ve never played against him before and I’m looking forward to the first time.”