Portland hockey lost a legend last week when Art Jones, who played for the Portland Buckaroos, died on February 3 at the age of 86.
An ice center player, Jones – known as the Red Baron for his scoring touch – joined the Portland Buckaroos in 1960 and led them to eight league championships and three Patrick Cup wins.
He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
“Art was a pioneer of hockey in Portland, and he’s one of the best to ever play the game. He helped lay the groundwork for what hockey should be like at Memorial Coliseum ”, Portland Winter Falcon President Doug Piper said in a press release. “We would like to share our condolences with the Jones family and celebrate the incredible man we loved.”
The Bangor, Sask. Native captained Portland for 11 seasons, winning two MVP awards. He has 1,580 points in 1,180 regular season games in the WHL, the second-greatest in league history.
Jones retired from hockey in 1976 but remained in Portland, participating in a number of Buckaroos tributes over the years at Portland Winterhawks games.
“It gets better every year,” Jones told The Oregonian in 2010. “I don’t think there’s another team in this league that honors them like this. The Winterhawk organization has a lot of class to do this.
He said in 2010 that he and his former hockey buddies would get together occasionally at a sports bar in northeast Portland to “grab a few beers and chat, like we did when we played.”
As a member of the Buckaroos team from 1960 to 1961, Jones was one of the first to play in the all-new Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and in the team’s first season in the WHL, Portland defeated the Seattle Totems in the league. championship.
“The first game, I know it was exciting, but there weren’t a lot of people here,” Jones told The Oregonian in 1990 at a Memorial Coliseum 30th anniversary celebration. “After about the first 10 games, we started packing them. Then we won the championship that year, and after that it was all gone.”
Jones spent his last years in a retirement home in Happy Valley with his wife, Jill.