Peyton Jones had no idea what a hockey puck was. So when the Langhorne native attended his first Flyers game with his father at the age of 4, no one thought his attention span would last a few minutes, let alone the entire event.
“I ended up falling in love with the game,” Jones said.
Fast forward two decades, and the Holy Ghost Prep alum is not only a star goalkeeper for Penn State’s Nittany Lions, he’s nominated for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award for the second time in his college career.
“It’s awesome,” he told The Times. “I’ve got to thank my teammates. They’re definitely a huge part in it. It’s an individual thing, but it’s also a team thing, too, because I couldn’t have done it without them. It’s an honor, and I’m happy to be able to do it for Penn State and do it with my teammates.”
Jones, along with Penn State junior defenseman Cole Hults, of Stoughton, Wisconsin, was named to the initial list of 78 candidates nominated for the award, which is given annually to the top college hockey player in the nation during a presentation at the Frozen Four.
College hockey fans around the world are being tasked with voting for their favorite athlete during the Phase I period, open now through Monday, March 9. Individuals can vote once per day, per device throughout the entire period.
Following the conclusion of Phase I, the list of players will be narrowed to a Top 10, which is set to be announced on March 18. Phase II fan voting will take place from March 18-29.
The Hobey Hat Trick will be announced on April 2, with the Hobey Baker Memorial Award presented to the winner on April 10 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Detroit, Michigan.
After he was nominated as a freshman, Jones didn’t make it past Phase I. This time around, he hopes to advance further, and explained why he is deserving of the award.
“I go to Penn State and I’m representing the state of Pennsylvania as an individual in ice hockey, and me and my teammates work extremely hard to make this program the best that it could possibly be,” he said.
When taking into consideration Jones’ resume, it’s evident why he was selected as a nominee once again. Jones, who holds nearly every goaltending record at Penn State, is currently having a career year in the Big Ten, ranking tied for fourth in the nation with his 14 wins this season. Additionally, his 72 career victories are the most among active goaltenders across the nation.
His 38 career Big Ten victories are also a new league standard, as he passed Eric Schierhorn’s total of 34 in November. Jones’ .926 save percentage and 2.37 goals against average are current career bests, while both rank fourth in the Big Ten and good for 16th and 29th in the nation, respectively.
The Nittany Lions acquired Jones in 2016 after he spent two years in Lincoln, Nebraska playing for the Lincoln Stars, who drafted him in 2014 in the fourth round of the United States Hockey League Draft. This was directly after his graduation from Holy Ghost. Jones is also an alum of Herbert Hoover Elementary School and Maple Point Middle School.
With his days at Penn State coming to a quick end, Jones has no intention of saying “goodbye” to his favorite game just yet.
“I hope to sign a contract somewhere and see where this journey takes me,” he said. “That’s the plan.” ••
Visit hobeybaker.com/vote for information on the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com