The NWHL made some major waves in the world of women’s hockey today when it announced that former CWHL superstar Jess Jones agreed to terms with the Buffalo Beauts.
Jones is the third player who played for the Thunder last season to leave the CWHL for the NWHL and Buffalo. Defender Sarah Edney and goal-scoring forward Rebecca Vint joined the Beauts earlier this offseason.
“After playing in the European and Canadian leagues, I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing against the great talent in the National Women’s Hockey League,” Jones shared in the league’s press release. “I’ve admired the league from my home base in Toronto, and of course I know some of the players from my collegiate career, so I’m really pumped to become a member of the Buffalo Beauts.”
Jones was a star at Mercyhurst University and for HK Pantera Minsk of the EWHL before playing in Brampton with the Thunder for four seasons. She broke out during the 2015-16 season with 24 points in 24 games and followed that performance with an unbelievable 2016-17 campaign. Jones finished last season tied for the CWHL lead in points with superstar Marie-Philip Poulin, scoring 37 points during the regular season.
“I had a great experience in Brampton,” Jones explained. “My teammates, the staff and the fans were incredible there. I’m sorry to leave all the great friends I made there, but the opportunity that the NWHL and Buffalo presents is really exciting to me.”
Jones is the 24th player to sign with the Beauts this offseason. And if her success in the CWHL is any indication of what she could do in the NWHL, Buffalo just made the biggest free agent signing of the offseason.
The Beauts have a reputation for converting on the PP, and they just added the CWHL's top PP scorer from last season (12 PP pts, 24 GP).— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) August 31, 2017
Jones is a game changer. She’s lethal on the power play and has proven herself to be one of the most productive forwards in women’s hockey. Buffalo’s chances at defending the Isobel Cup just got significantly better.
In other NWHL news today the Boston Pride agreed to terms with former Princeton University forward Corey Stearns. Stearns is a big forward (listed at 5-foot-10) who put up 71 points in 112 games at Princeton where she played with Denna Laing.
Laing's perseverance after her severe spinal cord injury, suffered during the NWHL's inaugural season, inspired Stearns to train and make a return to competitive hockey.
“I'm so honored to be joining the Boston Pride and the NWHL and really proud that this is happening,” Stearns explained in a press release. “I never thought I'd have the opportunity to play hockey professionally in my home city. I played with Denna at [Noble and Greenough] and at Princeton, and she is a true competitor and a great friend. Joining an organization that Denna played for and cares so deeply about makes playing for the Pride even more special.”
Stearns piled up assists for the Tigers during her NCAA career including 26 assists in 29 games in her senior season. She is the 11th forward to sign with the Pride this offseason, which leaves the Pride with just five more roster spots to fill (if they so choose).