MARQUETTE - After over 50 games as a defenseman for Northern Michigan University, it may seem odd to see sophomore Mitch Jones playing forward for the Wildcats this weekend at the Berry Events Center against Miami.
Forward isn't a foreign role for Jones, however. It's where he played during midgets and juniors, at least initially.
It's also happens to be the position he plays in his other life as a professional indoor lacrosse player.
"I'm more of a goal scorer in lacrosse," said Jones, who has been playing lacrosse as long as he's been playing hockey. "I think I can work on that in hockey. I know its in me to have that killer instinct in me around the net. I haven't found that yet, but at least I know I have that. That's what I do best in lacrosse so hopefully I can bring that over to my hockey game soon."
Jones will only be making his fourth start as a center at 7:35 p.m. on Friday against Miami at the Berry Events Center, but over the least three years has appeared in over 70 games as a forward in Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League, amassing over 100 goals and nearly 200 assists.
In September, the Delta, British Columbia, native was selected by the Washington Stealth in the third round, No. 21 overall, of the 2012 National Lacrosee League Draft. The NLL is a professional indoor lacrosse league that features six teams in the United States and three in Canada. The regular season runs from the beginning of January through the middle of April.
"I look forward to going out there," Jones said. "(Washington) is a really good organization. The league continues to grow. They average about 10,000 fans per game throughout the league. As far as national media, it's pretty small, but big in the communities they are in. Six of the nine teams play in NHL arenas."
The NCAA's sport specific rules on amateurism allow student-athletes like Jones to turn pro in one sport, but remain an amateur in another.
Once the Wildcats' hockey season comes to an end, Jones will begin playing regular season and postseason games with the Stealth. In the fall, he will return to the Wildcats for his junior year.
"I'll follow (the Stealth) as the year goes along, obviously," Jones said. "My first priority is my team at NMU. It's interesting to follow and hopefully I can get in some action once our season is done."