Russell Jones

In Australia's top hockey league - the IHV Premier A League - the victorious champions are awarded the Russell Jones Premiership Cup.

Admittedly that pales in comparison to the Stanley Cup, but it got me curious. Who was Russell Jones? And why did Australia's small but enthusiastic hockey community honour him so?

Russell Jones was an early pioneer of hockey "Down Under." He played with the Melbourne Demons from 1945 through 1964. He also coached the Demons for 14 of those seasons.

He also led Australia to their hey day internationally. Australia, believe it or not, qualified for and competed in the 1960 Winter Olympics. They never won a game and were outscored 93-10, but Jones did his country proud with 2 goals and 5 points.

He also was a part of the 1962 national team that participated in the World Championship. Australia finished 13th, but they defeated Denmark 6-2 for their very first international hockey victory!

Jones captained the national team through to 1964 when they failed to qualify for the '64 Olympics.

The Jones family is the first family of hockey in Australia. Russell's son Martin is Referee In Chief down under, while grandsons Sean and Mitchell are notably players as well.

Russell Jones passed away at the age of 86 in 2012. He continued to play hockey right to the end.

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