Owen Jones signs with Hurricanes
The Hamilton Hurricanes have been on the radar of Owen Jones for a long time.
The recent signee with the Canadian Junior Football League squad first became interested in the team after watching it play the Niagara Raiders about four or five years ago at Kiwanis Field. At the time, he was a member of the Niagara Spears junior varsity team.
“The first time I saw them play, it was unbelievable,” the 19-year-old Grimsby resident said. “The team had a great coaching staff and it motivated me because after Spears, I wanted to try and go professional. The amount of competitive feeling those players had and what the entire league had, I wanted that competitive edge and to see the competition for myself.”
The league was a perfect fit for Jones.
“Since I wasn’t interested in going the university path to play OUA (Ontario University Athletics), I wanted to sign up for the Hurricanes and hopefully get drafted from them.”
While playing for the Niagara Spears and the Blessed Trinity Thunder, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound defensive halfback talked to a few OUA scouts and previously attended Windsor’s football camp. But all along, he was thinking of another route. He has enrolled at Niagara College and is planning to study welding.
Jones knows there are plenty of players who have moved to the next level after playing in the CJFL.
“I know a few people who played for the Hurricanes that got drafted into the CFL.”
He understands that cracking the lineup of the Hurricanes won’t be easy.
“I need to work as hard as I always have and play 100 per cent every snap to every whistle,” said Jones, who would have played his third season with the varsity Spears this summer if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I feel if I keep that mentality and keep my competitive edge up, I think I could gain a spot on the team.”
Varsity Spears head coach Brian Duguay expects the three-year veteran of the Blessed Trinity senior squad to succeed with the Hurricanes.
“Owen is ready for the next step. He has high energy and was always at practice motivating his teammates on,” he said. “Owen could contribute right away on defence and/or as a returner. He has the drive to better himself and always put the team first.”
Jones has not heard anything from the Hurricanes about when practices or the league might start and he’s in wait-and-see mode like all his teammates.
He is doing a number of things to stay in shape.
“I am working full time as a roofer, I have been doing my own workouts since the gyms have been closed and I am in fantastic shape.”
He is excited to get started with the Hurricanes.
“I can’t wait for that feel of being on a next-level football team that shows you can make it if you work really hard for it.”
Jones credits the Spears with helping take the next step as a football player.
“It has been really important,” he said. “I have been with the organization for a number of years and I have met the most amazing people: great staff, great players and it was a thrill.”