Calling Ryan Jones an avid outdoorsman is like calling Lady Gaga outgoing, or saying that Derek Jeter likes to date beautiful women.
We base this on no evidence whatsoever, but we’re pretty sure that when he’s not playing hockey in Edmonton during the fall and winter Jones lives with a pack of bears.
Or maybe the bears and the entire animal kingdom are his enemy. We do have evidence to support this theory in the form of foreign excrement on a dining room table during a preemptive strike earlier this summer.
What becomes clear while scrolling through the Twitter account of the 27-year-old forward is that he certainly hasn’t let his new-found hockey riches change anything about his lifestyle. Originally drafted by Minnesota in 2004, Jones was unable to secure consistent playing time in the show until he was claimed off waivers by Edmonton last March. He promptly capitalized on his opportunity with the Oilers this past season, finishing third on the team in scoring with 18 goals to earn a two-year contract worth $3 million.
Maybe it’s his late-bloomer status that’s kept the former Hobey Baker Award finalist grounded. Or maybe he really does like bears.
Strap on your camo, we’re about to explore the Summer of Jones.
Before we get to the hunting and wild outdoor adventures, we assure you that Jones does workout during the offseason. Already infamous for his scrappy garbage goals, he practices his screening technique on a pint-sized goalie.
The traffic in front of that net is fierce too. Don’t believe me? Look at the battle wound Jones came home with after a recent training session.
He may be lighting the lamp on one-dimensional goalies, but that’s only after his trips deep into the heart of the animal kingdom.
Some NHLers hold hockey camps for kids during the summer. Jones goes to bear camp.
That’s a picture from Jones’ retreat to the Minnesota wilderness, a place where bears go to fight, and men go to become petrified and take pictures safely from their tree branch.
Jones doesn’t discriminate with his love for the great outdoors, and he’s also a sea-going free spirit. If you’re compelled to take even a casual stroll through the Twitter accounts of NHL players, you’ll notice two things immediately: widespread use of the word “beauty”, and a love for fishing that’s almost as strong as the love for golfing.
Taylor Hall reels in fish that are sightly larger than a pack of chewing gum. Jones caught a fish in Nanaimo, B.C. that probably ate Hall.
His love for the outdoors has also led Jones to the peak of some gnarly waves. We suspect the balance and core strength he perfected while screening the tarp goalie helped his wakeboarding.
The adventure doesn’t end when he’s back on the land tamed by civilization either. During a break on one of his trips Jones had a chance to ride in something called a cycle cart, a personal mode of transportation that’s powered either by your feet, or by an electric motor.
A true outdoorsman would brave the bitterly cold Edmonton winter and show up to the rink every day in one of these contraptions. So watch for Jones in your rear-view mirror this winter, because when he’s not documenting the latest in bear and turtle fornication, he’s probably customizing his own cart.