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Blackhawks' Caleb and Seth Jones get rare chance to play for father

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Seth, Popeye and Caleb Jones

ELMONT, N.Y. — Before Saturday, there weren't many opportunities for Popeye Jones to see his sons Caleb and Seth play at the NHL level because of the lack of overlap between their schedules and his as an NBA coach.

In fact, the last time Popeye saw a game of Caleb's live was, ironically, against the Blackhawks on March 5, 2020 when Caleb was with the Edmonton Oilers. It happened the week before the NHL was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Popeye was the assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers, who were in town to face the Chicago Bulls at the United Center the next night.

On Saturday, Popeye had the opportunity to do something special for the first time: Watch both of his sons Caleb and Seth play in an NHL game together, not against each other.

Popeye is now an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets, who played the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden just hours before the New York Rangers hosted the Blackhawks in the same venue. It allowed Popeye to hang around and be in attendance for the game, which was the first one he attended since Caleb and Seth became Blackhawks.

"It was pretty cool," Seth said. "There’s only been a handful of times in my nine years that we’ve been in the same city during the season. And we had dinner last night, us three, and that was fun. Obviously to see him or to have him come to my games and Caleb’s games is pretty awesome."

 

"It was cool," echoed Caleb. "I talked to him a little bit after the game. Obviously he's excited and proud. Madison Square Garden, it's a cool spot to watch us play."

The Blackhawks lost 3-2, but the Jones brothers were terrific. Caleb had one shot on goal, three assists and 17:39 of ice time while Seth had two assists and logged 29:43 of ice time, which was the most ice time he's logged in a game during regulation this season.

"This is why you get a player like that on your team," interim head coach Derek King said of Seth. "He was spectacular."

Without Jake McCabe (family reasons) and Connor Murphy (concussion protocol), the back end needed to step up and that's what the Jones brothers did. What made the next even more special is the fact the two of them were on a pairing together.

When Caleb and Seth were on the ice together in 11:25 of even-strength time, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts 10-4, according to Natural Stat Trick. They didn't give up much against the Rangers.

"He gets a kick out of seeing us both play together, for sure," Caleb said. "I think our whole family enjoys seeing us play together as a pair, so it's always fun. But I think for him personally, when we both got to the NHL, he was really proud and I'm sure us playing together was a little extra special moment there for him last night."

It was a memorable weekend for the Jones family, no doubt. But the story gets even better, with Caleb and Seth returning the favor by having an opportunity to cheer on Popeye on Monday.

"He’s actually going to Chicago," Seth said. "They play the Bulls on Monday night so I’ll go to that game. It’s kind of crazy how that happened in just a couple days like that."

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