Teammates turn into rivals as USHL blueline companions Jones, Attard snapped up by Rangers, Flyers

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Tri-Metropolis Storm defensemen Zac Jones and Ronnie Attard had been among the best pairings in the complete USHL final season and gained a gold medal with Workforce USA on the World Jr. A Problem. However pals may in the future turn into foes after they had been chosen by rival golf equipment.Zac Jones on the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Recreation|Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty ImagesVANCOUVER – They had been probably the most lethal combos within the USHL, so it’s solely truthful that Tri-Metropolis Storm defensemen Zac Jones and accomplice Ronnie Attard had been snapped up inside just some picks of one another on the 2019 draft. Jones was courting questions from reporters after I knowledgeable him that Attard had been chosen after him, prompting an enthusiastic “That’s superior!” from Jones. There may be one small hitch, nevertheless.
Jones was taken 68th total by the New York Rangers, whereas Attard was snapped up with the 72nd choose by the rival Philadelphia Flyers. However, Jones was ecstatic for his buddy.
“I’m so happy with him,” Jones stated. “Him and I labored so exhausting this yr. I’m excited for him and I’m excited to play towards him – that ought to be a enjoyable rivalry.”
Jones was a breakout star for the Storm this season, utilizing nice edgework and mobility to zip the puck up the ice and create offense. Not solely is he a fantastic match for the rebuilding Rangers (who had a fantastic second day of the draft after clinching Kaapo Kakko on Day 1), however New York is a implausible spot for him, too.
“My household is from Binghamton, N.Y., so that they’re all pumped proper now,” Jones stated. “I can’t wait to be a Ranger.”
Together with serving to Tri-Metropolis win the USHL common season title, Jones and Attard additionally gained gold for Workforce USA on the World Jr. A Problem in December. Alongside the best way, Attard set a USHL document for targets by a defenseman when he scored No. 20, ending the season with 30.
Already 20 years previous, Attard had been handed over twice within the draft, however an enormous summer time noticed his skating speed up, whereas his sport received smarter. Enjoying with Jones didn’t damage, both.
“The time and house he makes, he can discover me wherever on the ice,” Attard stated. “That labored out effectively for us.”
In truth, Attard cited Jones because the No. 1 purpose for his enchancment, with elevated confidence (aided by coach Anthony Noreen) coming second.
“From Day 1, we got here in and stated we’re going to be the most effective ‘D’ pair within the league,” Jones stated. “That’s what we stated and it labored out fairly effectively for us.”
Attard may have gone to Western Michigan College this previous season, however determined his growth could be aided by being an enormous fish with Tri-Metropolis. He’ll be part of the Broncos subsequent season, the place the Michigan native will get to play close to dwelling and for veteran coach Andy Murray.
In the meantime, Jones will head out east to UMass, the place the Minutemen have turned issues round on the backs of blueliners resembling Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro.
“I like their teaching workers with Greg Carvel and you may simply take a look at the defensemen they’ve developed,” Jones stated. “They weren’t in a great place after I dedicated there, however I knew they might get to the proper spot due to that teaching workers.”
Because it turned out, UMass is coming off its greatest season ever and first-ever berth within the Frozen 4 ultimate.
The draft is a spot the place goals come true for all the children chosen, but it surely was extra-heartening to see the bond between Jones and Attard play out in actual time. Jones even had somewhat enjoyable along with his buddy, sneaking over to Attard’s media availability and utilizing a pen as a microphone to grill his ‘D’ accomplice. He even addressed the pending Rangers-Flyers rivalry of their lives.
“Are we nonetheless gonna be pals?” Jones requested.
“I believe we are able to make it work,” Attard responded with a smile.
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Tags: draft, ny rangers, nhl, philadelphia flyersConnect: In regards to the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect skilled at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto along with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.

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