Walton Grad Heats Up Pro Ice
Doug Jones scores three goals in five games to start his pro hockey career with the Gwinnett Gladiators.
This article has been updated to reflect corrected information about Doug Jones and the Gladiators' playoff roster.
Walton High grad Doug Jones was in position to get his first taste of professional playoff hockey when the Gwinnett Gladiators traveled to Charleston to play the South Carolina Stingrays on Tuesday night.
Jones, 24, told The Dartmouth newspaper it’s nice to be back in Georgia and even better to be back with his family and friends.
The East Cobb resident and Connecticut native scored 29 goals and had 78 assists in 127 games over four years at Dartmouth, including 11 goals and 14 assists in 31 games as the leading scorer and assistant captain this year, the Gladiators said in announcing Jones’ signing March 20.
Dartmouth has a slide show of his time with the Big Green.
The son of Barry and Leslie Jones attended Walton for his senior year, then took a detour before Dartmouth, spending two years with the U.S. Hockey League’s Cedar Rapids (IA) RoughRiders after high school.
“I have always had the mentality of moving on to the next level,” Jones told The Dartmouth. “When I was in prep school, my goal was to play at the junior level. In juniors, it was to play college. And in college, I wanted to play professionally.”
Jones signed in time for the final five games of the regular season for the Gladiators, who finished first in the South Division and second in the Eastern Conference.
He had an immediate impact, scoring three goals and getting an assist.
His first professional goal came in his first game, a 3-2 shootout win at Greenville on March 23. He scored during a power play in the second period to start the Gwinnett’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit; Jones took five of the team’s 33 shots in the game.
He was shut out despite taking five shots Friday in a 5-3 loss at Florida, but he had another milestone that night: his first two-minute penalty, for unsportsmanlike conduct midway through the third period.
Every Gwinnett game for Jones has been on the road, and that would have continued with the Stingrays hosting the first two games of the best-of-five playoff series Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Instead, Jones skipped the playoffs to finish his senior year at Dartmouth.
Game 3 is Friday night at 7:05 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. If necessary, Gwinnett also will have home games Sunday at 2:05 p.m. and Monday at 7:05 p.m.
Correction: Doug Jones decided to finish his senior year after his extended spring break with the Gladiators rather than participate in the playoffs. This article has been updated to reflect that decision, which also is addressed in this article.