Amy Jones is in full hockey-mom mode these days, collecting frequent flyer miles and crisscrossing the country to see sons Seth and Caleb play in their respective postseasons. Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are tied 2-2 with the Boston Bruins in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round. Caleb Jones is a defenseman for Bakersfield, the Edmonton Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate, and is playing in his first Calder Cup Playoffs.
"We're winging it right now, a lot up in the air, I'm just making it work," Amy said of juggling a home and job in Frisco, Texas, with the playoff schedules of her sons. "I'm really trying to take in as much as I can and enjoy it with them. I feel like I was on this journey with them as well."
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The 48-year-old is an all-in hockey mom whose Twitter bio says it all: "JONES FAMILY CEO, Hockey Mom, and always on the go."
She was at Nationwide Arena in Columbus for the Blue Jackets' 4-1 loss to the Bruins in Game 4 of the best-of-7 series Thursday and was set to high-tail it to Northern California to watch Caleb play Friday and Saturday in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-7 Pacific Division Finals against San Diego.
Amy is a presence at arenas and omnipresent on social media. She imparts wisdom to followers as the face of the NHL Most Valuable Hockey Mom campaign presented by MassMutual, shares photos and taking digs at perceived Blue Jackets doubters.
Amy calls out her kids, too. She sends Seth and Caleb blunt, in-the-moment text messages critiquing their play, even though they might be in the middle of a game at the time. She said it's just part of being a hockey mom.
"I think we're tough, super-cool moms. We just get it," said Amy, who works for a hotel developer. "The boys get hit and it's, like, 'Get up.' The same thing that we said at pee wee and bantam and midget, we're saying in the NHL. When your son makes a mistake, you just put your head down and you're like, 'Are you kidding me? What were you thinking?'"
Seth said his mother will send him messages urging him to watch a highlight involving his 21-year-old brother showing a goal for or a goal against.
"Sometimes she doesn't quite know if it's his fault or not in some situations," Seth said, "so I'm kind of there to be that guy to tell her, 'No, that's not him, it's a team thing'."
Seth said he understands and appreciates his mother's enthusiasm.
"She's watched me throughout the years and how much work I put in every summer, every single season to work for one goal, and that's winning the Stanley Cup," said the 24-year-old, who is third on Columbus with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the playoffs. "She's happy for me, but she's happy to be part of it."
To do that, Amy employs the skills of a travel agent, matching playoff schedules with airline flight times, coordinating with her sons and consulting with her ex-husband, former NBA player Popeye Jones.
Popeye, an assistant with the Indiana Pacers, also wants to attend as many games as possible after the Pacers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
"We're divorced now, but I think we still understand parenting and we've always been on the same page of supporting our kids and letting them grow as young adults in whatever they want to do, and we try to be there for them," said the 48-year-old, who attended Game 1 of the second round at Boston on April 25. "You're always a hockey parent, and that's never going to change."
Amy flew to Columbus to watch the Blue Jackets complete a first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 16, returned to Texas for two days, then flew to Denver to watch Caleb and Bakersfield play Colorado in the division semifinals.
"They appreciate it, though it's not really spoken, it's just, 'What games are you coming to, let me know your schedule,'" she said. "They just know I'm going to be there, no matter what."
After spending the weekend in California, she plans to fly back to Columbus for Game 6 against the Bruins Monday.
Amy said Popeye is scheduled next week to head to San Diego, where Caleb, who has one assist in four playoff games, and Bakersfield will play Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday.
No one in the family is slated to be in Boston to watch Seth play in Game 5 on Saturday, but Amy said her mother, Mimi Wills, is in Columbus with a suitcase ready.
"The idea is definitely to have someone there, for sure," Amy said. "It's kind of been this way forever. Me, [Popeye] or my mom."