When Ryan Jones
entered the Twitterverse back in January, Steve Nash was the primary draw.
Before long, Edmonton's newest re-signee began typing his own messages, following in the footsteps of Canada's NBA star.
"Twitter has been fun," Jones said. "It's an opportunity to let the fans see a different side of us. It's also been fun to read what people have to say, for the most part."
The Chatham, ON native has fully embraced this unique medium. In doing so, he came across an idea to help the community by putting out a call to fans everywhere. In early May, Jones pledged to donate $5,000 to the Stollery Children's Hospital once his account reached 20,000 followers.
A few short weeks later and Jones' page easily eclipsed that mark.
"I can't remember, exactly, how the whole idea came about," he explained. "I think I saw another player in the NHL [making a donation], so I stole the idea, I guess."
Charitable endeavours have always been important for the soon-to-be 27-year-old. His involvement with these programs began when he played at Miami University, donating his hair to children who endure long-term medical hair loss through Locks of Love.
As Jones explains, having the opportunity to support a local venture has been particularly special.
"It's an opportunity for me to give back to a community that welcomed me to the organization. The Stollery is well known in the community and everybody in the Edmonton area has either been there or knows someone that has."
Once Jones had announced his intention to donate, another call to action was broadcast on Twitter. He challenged someone to match his donation, upping the sum to $10,000 once he reached the magic number.
Although he's not on Twitter, teammate Gilbert Brule was eager to assist.
"Bru heard about the challenge to match my donation and he texted me that he would," Jones said. "It shows how much of a stand-up guy he is. I never approached him about it."
Stepping up to help, Jones says, provides another example of Edmonton's commitment to community support, both in and outside the team's locker room.
"I think this organization, more than any I've been involved in, is very involved in charitable foundations. It just goes to show how much the people in the organization and locker room care about the community. We all realize that without the fans and community support, we wouldn't be able to play the game we love in Edmonton."
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com