Tri-City Storm defended Zac Jones and Ronnie Attard as one of the best couples in the entire USHL last season and won a gold medal with Team USA at World Jr. A Challenge. But friends can one day become enemies after they are chosen by rival clubs.
They were one of the most dangerous combos in USHL, so it was fair when the defensive Tri-City Storm Zac Jones and partner Ronnie Attard were grabbed in just a few of their options in the 2019 draft. Jones flirted with reporters’ questions when I informed him that Attard was chosen after him, making an enthusiastic person so enthusiastic! There was a small push, however.
Jones was ranked 68th by the New York Rangers, while Attard was grabbed for his 72nd choice by rival Philadelphia Flyers. However, Jones was ecstatic because of his best friend.
Jones said that: “I’m so proud of him. He and I worked so hard this year. I’m excited for him and I’m excited to play against him – that should be a fun rivalry.”
Jones is a breakout star for Storm this season, using edgework and great mobility to compress the tape and create insult. He is not only suitable for rebuilding Rangers (who had a great second day of the draft after winning Kaapo Kakko on January 1), but New York is also a great place for him.
“My family is from Binghamton, N.Y., so they are currently pumping it all, right now”, Jones said. Then he cannot wait to become a Forest Ranger. In addition to helping Tri-City win the regular season title of USHL, Jones and Attard, it also won gold for the US Team at World Jr. A Challenge in December. On the way, Attard set a record of USHL on the number of goals scored by a defender when he scored the 20th, ending the season with 30.
Just 20 years old, Attard was adopted twice in the draft, but a big summer saw his skating speed up, while his game became smarter. Playing with Jones doesn’t hurt. “The time and space he created, he could find me anywhere on the tape”, said Attard. He added: “That worked well for us”.
In fact, Attard cited Jones as the No. 1 reason for his improvement, with increased confidence (supported by coach Anthony Noreen) second. “From day 1, we came and said that we would become the best D D couple in the tournament”, according to Jones. More and more, what he said and it works pretty well for them.
Attard may have gone to Western Michigan University last season, but decided his development would be supported by becoming a big fish with Tri-City. He will participate in Broncos next season, where Michigan natives are playing close to home and for veteran coach Andy Murray.
Meanwhile, Jones will head east to UMass, where the Minutemen turn everything on the backs of cruel men like Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro. “I love their coaching staff with Greg Carvel and you just need to look at the defenses they’ve developed”, said Jones. “They were not in a good position when I committed there, but I knew they would be in the right place because of that coaching staff”.
When it turned out, UMass was making the best season ever in the Frozen Four final. The draft is where dreams come true for all selected children, but it is extremely exciting to see the relationship between Jones and Attard in real time. Jones even has a little fun with his best friend, sneaking into the media Attard, and using the pen as a microphone to grill his “D”partner. He even mentioned the competition of Rangers-Flyers in their lives.