Connor Jones starred with his twin brother Kellen for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, their hometown team, for a season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in 2006-07. Connor joined the Vegas Golden Knights as an amateur scout last July after wrapping up his pro career in the ECHL with the Fort Wayne Komets. His playing career included playing more than 300 regular season and playoff games in the AHL, as well as time in Europe. Connor talked about the experience of being there for the Cup-clinching game and his role in this Q&A. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
KIJHL: What was it like to be part of the Stanley Cup winning celebration?
CJ: It was incredible. Honored to be invited there with my wife and the other scouting staff. Going out on the ice, and watching the guys celebrate, you see how hard those guys play and work and what it meant to them was super special.
KIJHL: What was it like for you to hoist the Stanley Cup above your head?
CJ: It felt surreal lifting the cup over my head. Amazing to be involved with a Championship winning team in my first year and to think back of all the players over time that have lifted the cup is pretty astounding.
KIJHL: What impressed you about the way the team played leading to that Stanley Cup victory?
CJ: The main thing for me is the total buy-in to the systems and the way they played to their identity. A lot of great performances from everyone throughout the entire playoffs.
KIJHL: What has it been like working in that role?
CJ: It’s been a great first year. Being a part of the Vegas organization, it is first class from top to bottom. I can’t say enough about the people involved from the ownership down that have helped and lead me to grow as a person and scout in my first year.
KIJHL: At what levels are you scouting players?
CJ: Amateur free agents who are undrafted players in the NCAA or CHL.
KIJHL: How many players have you helped sign to the organization? Your father told me about KIJHL alum Ross Armour.
CJ: I’m not sure about that number but I watched Ross play in Bemidji this season several times. I of course knew his background being from the same place and know him well. I was impressed with his ability to compete and the way he’s improved and grown over the past five years, and ultimately thought he’d be a good player for us.
(Note: Armour signed with the Knights’ ECHL affiliate, the Savannah Ghost Pirates, where he played in 15 regular season games and registered eight points.)
KIJHL: What are you hoping that your position as an amateur scout will lead to next?
CJ: For now, I’m really jumping into what I’m doing and trying to be the best at my position. To me, with whatever job I’ve ever done, it’s always about how I can be a good teammate and what can I do to help my team win within my role. I’m excited to keep that winning tradition going and to help in any way I can.