While the BCIHL playoffs have been done for over a month, hockey season is far from over. Hockey fans everywhere are tuning into round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, for one player on the SFU Men’s Hockey Team, it’s a chance to watch a friend in action.
A native of North Van, five year SFU veteran and newly-minted alumnus Jono Ceci watches the playoffs with a special interest in the San Jose Sharks-Nashville Predators series, watching for childhood friend and starting goaltender for the Sharks, Martin Jones.
“Martin’s been one of my best friends all throughout school,” says Ceci.
“It’s kind of surreal seeing him in there,” he continues. “It’s pretty cool more than anything to see your buddy, to know it was your best friend, and to see him on the ice, and you can’t really believe it’s him in that gear.”
Though in his first season with the Sharks, Jones has already won a Stanley Cup with the LA Kings, the team the Sharks beat in the first round, in 2014, his first year as an NHL backup. Jones brought the Cup to North Van, which in addition to a variety of public activities, came a reunion of old friends.
“That was a pretty unbelievable day, to have all of our friends together — which is nice, after high school everyone kind of goes their separate ways — everyone came back for that, we had a whole day with [the Stanley Cup]. We did all kinds of stuff, went up Grouse Mountain, had some dinner up there, so it was pretty amazing to have everyone together and pass over his accomplishments and have some fun at the same time,” Ceci explains.
Ceci notes that it was a fitting reward for the hard work that Jones has put in, having gone undrafted in the 2008 NHL Draft and instead earning a contract after an impressive rookie camp with the Kings.
“A lot of people say how lucky he is for all his success, but he’s earned it. You see him, he’s training all summer, training every day,” Ceci says.
And with that hard work came a lot of generosity, as Jones has donated to various local fundraiser initiatives, including a jersey to an SFU Hockey silent auction in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in 2014.
“One of the most generous guys you’ll meet,” says Ceci of his friend. “Any time you ask him, he’s happy to help. [. . .] He’s no stranger to helping people out and that’s one of the things you got to like about him.”
While Ceci claims not to had time to fill out an NHL bracket this year, it’s clear that he’s got his hopes on the Sharks, and the friend that he and their friends have taken to calling the “Great White Mart.”
“I’m just cheering for those guys, I don’t really care what else happens,” Ceci explains.