Jonesing for a junior spot

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

Martin Jones has a lot of people in his corner in his quest for a spot on Team Canada's world junior squad.

Calgary Hitmen backup goaltender Michael Snider must be among them.

If Jones, the Hitmen's No.-1 'tender, cracks Canada's roster, Snider would see a lot more playing time in December and January.

"Yeah, I hope he's on my side," Jones said with a smile.

Coming off a record-setting campaign that saw the North Vancouver product record 45 wins, a 2.08 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, the 19-year-old has his sights set on Canada's world junior camp, which kicks off today in Saskatoon.

Jones, who signed a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Kings last fall, attended camp with the NHL club's other prospects last month.

What better way to prepare for a world junior camp than to face pro shooters?

"It was pretty good timing," Jones said. "I got to go (to Kings camp) and then had a couple of weeks off.

"I faced some good shooters and got in some good practise.

"Any time you get to go down and be in that kind of atmosphere, you learn a lot."

Jones attended a Hockey Canada goaltending camp earlier this summer, where he got a look at his competition.

Olivier Bellavance-Roy (QMJHL's Cape Breton Screaming Eagles), Jake Allen (QMJHL's Montreal Juniors) and Matt Hackett (OHL's Plymouth Whalers) are the other three netminders in the mix.

"There's some good goalies out there," Jones said. "You get to see them play a little bit and it's pretty impressive how good they all are."

With no goaltenders returning from last year's gold-medal squad, the battle is wide open.

Jones won't get ahead of himself, but there's certainly room to dream.

"I have a lot of hard work and focus left to put in," he said. "But, obviously, that thought's crossed my mind. To have it happen would be an unbelievable experience.

"It's every kid's dream growing up -- to play for Team Canada. Especially after watching the world juniors every year, it would be unbelievable."

Jones is joined in Saskatoon by Hitmen teammate Brandon Kozun. Local products Tyler Myers (Buffalo Sabres), who won world junior gold last year, Dylan Olsen (Chicago Blackhawks) and Joe Colborne (Boston Bruins) have been invited to camp.

Flames draft picks T.J. Brodie and Greg Nemisz are also competing for spots.


Videos

Photos