Last year Zane Jones may have made just 16 appearances for the Newcastle Northstars, but he – and his near-violent showmanship – left a lasting impact on the Novocastrian fans.
The dual Canadian and Australian citizen was stricken by injury which partially kept him off the ice during the 2017 season, and he’s aiming to make up for lost time when he returns.
Northstars general manager Garry Doré believes the “massive impact player” will impress from the first minute.
“We all remember that big hit from last season that went viral, but [Jones] is so much more than that, he’s such a personality in the dressing room,” Doré revealed.
“He’s invigorating, both in the backroom and on the ice, and while he’s a no dobut a fan-favourite the team love him too and they’re looking forward to having him back for the season.”
While playing for the Newcastle side, Jones earned the nickname ‘The Zane Train’ as he rampaged his way to 12 goals in his 16 appearances, but it looks like he’s a man of many names.
In Australia’s off-season Jones made the journey to Sweden, where he made 28 appearances for Sollentuna in the first division, and was dubbed ‘Zuper Zane’ by the club fans.
Doré believes a full season for the star man, after his battles with injuries in the 2017 season, will be “memorable and impressive”.
“He’s fitter than a fiddle and chomping at the bit to get back on the ice this season,” the club’s general manager said.
Alongside the re-signing of Jones, Doré pointed at the rest of a “solid squad” heading into the new campaign.
“We picked up a number of signings from the Bears as well as Perth’s Haselhurst, and it’s strengthened the squad a lot to get all these guys on board,” he said.
“I actually don’t think we’ve had a more solid, deep team for a long time and we’re going to have that this year. We have a really solid [backline] and with the depth we have at our disposal now we can see ourselves in a playoff position for sure.
“We’re very busy now, we’ve had improvements to the rink as well – making it a better fan experience – and have a ‘jumbo-tron’ now.
“Hopefully we can see a lot of goals on that, and not a lot scored against us,” Doré added with a laugh.
The Newcastle Northstars will host their first home game of the season on Saturday, April 28, when they welcome Canberra Brave to the HISS. Their season begins one week earlier at the Macquarie Ice Rink against the Ice Dogs.
Season tickets are now on sale; to book call 0249544499.
Re-live that big hit from the Zane Train: