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Jones took a leave of absence from Caledon OPP to join Toronto's PWHL club
By ZACHARY ROMAN
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A Caledon police officer is now hitting the ice for Toronto's new professional women's hockey team.
Jess Jones, 33, recently took a leave of absence from the Caledon OPP to join the Professional Women's Hockey League's (PWHL) Toronto franchise.
Jones was born in Picton, ON, and began playing hockey at the age of four. She played college hockey and in multiple professional leagues before becoming a police officer, something she always knew she wanted to do.
However, when the PWHL was formed, Jones knew she had to give it a shot.
“When it was announced, I was ecstatic,” said Jones. “I was invited to Toronto's camp and I found a spot on the roster… just living the dream.”
As of January 29, PWHL Toronto had a record of three wins and five losses. Jones said while it isn't quite the start Toronto was looking for, the team has been working together nicely and she's confident for the rest of the season.
Jones plays forward and said she can play any role based on what her team needs. Right now, she said she's playing more of a “grinder” role, trying to get under opposing players' skin and embracing the physicality of the game.
PWHL Toronto's home arena is the Mattamy Athletic Centre, which used to be Maple Leaf Gardens. Jones said the vibe there for home games has been fantastic.
“The fans in Toronto have been incredible. We sold out every single game so far… our season tickets, they're on a waitlist,” said Jones.
Support from the fans has been great for Jones, and so has support from her colleagues at the Caledon OPP detachment. She said her colleagues have been reaching out to say how proud they are, offering their support as she lives her lifelong dream.
“That overwhelming support I have from the staff back in town was amazing,” said Jones. “I thank the OPP organization as a whole for allowing me to go on this leave… it's something I'll be grateful for for the rest of my life.”
The PWHL is not yet even halfway through its inaugural season, and Jones said it's been an amazing league to play in. She said it's been fun travelling to face off against the league's other franchises: Ottawa, New York, Montreal, Minnesota, and Boston.
Jones said right now, nearly every game feels like a rivalry matchup.
“It's really physical and really intense,” said Jones.
Jones said the PWHL is a big deal for young female hockey players.
“Now that there's a place you can play after schooling and university… if you work hard, do your best, and have fun with it… now there's a place you can play professionally,” said Jones.
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