LIGHTS, CAMERA, JONESYJul 26, 2021
Standing in a goal crease can at times feel a bit like standing up on stage; the spotlight is on you, you’re alone, and people are counting on you to perform.
For Iowa Wild goaltender Hunter Jones, he’s always wanted to be a star, whether it be in between the pipes or in front of the microphone.
“When I was young, I watched a lot of “The Next Star” on TV, so I asked my dad if I could go to Toronto to try out for the show,” Jones said. “My dad said only if I learned to play guitar first, so that summer I taught myself how to play.”
As Jones describes it, “The Next Star” was a Canadian reality television show, much like “American Idol”, for youth musicians.
“Most people don’t understand how those competitions really work, Jones said. “You have to go through four rounds of auditions before any filming starts… I made it all the way to the first filmed auditions [of “The Next Star”] and was cut from there. Just getting that far though, with my Walmart guitar, is something I’m still very proud of.”
Minnesota’s second round draft pick in 2019 is more than just a closet musician. From winning numerous competitions in Ontario as a teenager (and using the prize money to buy video games and NERF guns), or posting various cover songs to his YouTube page, the melody of Jones’ life is one part hockey, one part music and one part family.
“The Jones family is a small one, I’m an only child,” Jones said. “My parents are so supportive of my hockey career and always have been. It was always my dad driving and my mom making sure I was getting fed.”
A common theme you hear when talking about family vacations in a hockey household is vacations often centered around a hockey tournament. This was the case in the Jones house as well, specifically in the case of a trip to “the city of brotherly love”.
“Going to Philadelphia was super cool because we used to watch the “Rocky” movies a lot growing up,” Jones said. “We visited the stairs he ran up and had a “Philly Cheesesteak”, it was awesome.”
Voice of the Wild, Joe O’Donnell, is our resident “Philly Cheesesteak” expert and has quite a strong opinion on what is and isn’t authentic. He and Hunter will chat live on Facebook about that and more on Wednesday, Jul. 28.
Iowa Wild hockey is presented by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center. For more information, please visit www.iowawild.com.