Jon Russell Commits to Brown University

Jon Russell has committed to Brown University for the 2019-2020 season. NZ scouts have described Jon as a simple and disciplined player that makes the players around him better. He has a strong skill set and knows his strengths.  Jon tells us about the first time he laced up ice skates:

“I started playing hockey the winter before I turned 3. My dad played hockey and he built a backyard ice rink, Russell Arena, and he taught me how to skate and play hockey and I immediately loved it.”

The Michigan native has been playing Juniors for four seasons and for five different teams. He tells us about his journey:

“After already living away from home for two years, I started my junior career in Des Moines, Iowa, playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. I was 17 years old and just so excited to play there for a few years and head off to college. Around thanksgiving, I had a change of plans and a little bump in my junior hockey career as I headed down to Odessa, Texas, and finished the year with the Odessa Jackalopes in the NAHL. The next season I moved to West Kelowna, British Columbia, to play for the West Kelowna Warriors in the BCHL. This was a unique part of my hockey journey as I was born in Kamloops, British Columbia, due to my dad’s family being from out there. I had to battle through a tough injury that year and it really helped add some mental toughness to my game. The next summer I was drafted by Amarillo Bulls in the NAHL and was headed back to Texas. I felt like I was finally producing and playing great hockey before I got a shocking development in my season. My linemate and I had to pack our bags after Christmas and head to Fort Worth, Texas in a four player trade with the Lone Star Brahmas. This ended up being a great move as our team had great success in the regular season, but unfortunately lost in playoffs to the Mudbugs who ended up winning it all. This year I am back in Des Moines, Iowa playing hockey for the original junior hockey team I started out with. It is funny how those things work out but I am so glad to be back and have a second chance with this great organization. Our team looks great so far this year and I’m excited to finish my junior career here.”

With an amazing journey like that we asked what were some of his takeaways

“With my first stint with the Des Moines Buccaneers I learned how to handle being in and out of the lineup and how important practices are the get better and prove yourself. In Odessa, I learned how to play against older and stronger players. In West Kelowna, I learned how to push through pain and become mentally tough, when things aren’t going the way you would like them to, or you’re not feeling like you’re getting the opportunity you deserve, I learned how to dig a little deeper and only focus on the things you can control. In Amarillo, I learned to make sure to make the most of your opportunity when you get it or you’ll lose it. I also learned to not be scared of change as my trade to Lone Star was very beneficial to my hockey career and my coach made sure I understood the details of my game.” Jon has an impressive Junior Hockey resume, we asked him what advice he had for kids looking up to him, Make sure you keep your confidence up. Changes can be made, coaches can be tough, but only you can control your belief in yourself. It’s a competitive sport, if you’re not doing your job, coaches and general managers will find people that will, so you have to make sure you compete every day to get better and be accountable. Character is big too, make sure you show up to time for things, listen to coaches when they talk, be kind to your billet families, be great in your community.”

Jon also had an interesting NCAA recruitment process:

I had committed to Harvard when I was 17, and things developed differently over the years and I now feel confident that Brown is the perfect fit for me.” Elaborating on his decision to go to Brown, “I stepped on campus and loved it on my visit. I love the east coast, and the area there in Rhode Island. I’m extremely excited get out there next season! I had known a decent amount about Brown going into my visit. My good friend from high school is on the hockey team there and he had nothing but positive things to say about his experience. Brown was one of my sister’s top schools when she was looking at for college. Although she ended up going a different route, she informed me a lot of what she had learned about the school’s academic side, away from hockey, through her college search and from when she visited the school. I went on my visit excited about the opportunity to attend and play for the school and loved every second of it. I knew it was the fit for me.”

We asked Jon if he had thought about life after his hockey career:

“At Brown I’m planning on studying Business and Economics. I know eventually some day there will be a life outside of hockey and when I step into the real world I want to be ready. I hope to become ready with my studies during college at Brown.”

Ice hockey is only one of Jon’s many talents:

“Music is big within my siblings. My older brother has been playing guitar for long time and even had some work playing for weddings. My sister is really big into choir and musical theatre. She was an underclass lead in her high school play Beauty and the Beast when she played Belle. I have taken piano lessons for 6 years, I stopped freshman year of high school but still continue to play and have even performed with the traveling Dueling Pianos when they made their way through Odessa and Amarillo to perform at hockey functions when I was on those junior teams.”

Jon has played 18 games, so far, with Des Moines in his final Junior season and has accumulated 8 points on 3 goals and 5 assists. No word on how many piano performances this season. Jon is a multi-talented student athlete who should find success in Rhode Island. 

Photo credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images