The following article was posted on www.torontosun.com on Tuesday, August 21 featuring former Union College standout Josh Jooris.
By Lance Hornby
Josh Jooris identifies with that old Supertramp song, Take The Long Way Home.
The Burlington product has been through five NHL teams, four different clubs last season alone counting a pair of minor-league demotions, before landing with the Maple Leafs on the opening day of 2018 free agency.
While timing and numbers weren’t in his favour during some previous stops, placed on waivers or traded, Toronto suddenly found itself in need of veteran forwards as James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, and Leo Komarov signed elsewhere, Matt Martin was traded and there seems little appetite to bring back fourth-line centre Dominic Moore.
General manager Kyle Dubas, an old friend of the Jooris family, extended a one-year, two-way contract for $650,000 US to Josh to try and make Toronto at wing or centre.
“It’s surreal,” Jooris said Tuesday at an informal practice with his new team. “Growing up local … the organization is so historic to be part of, to see some of the greats along the wall (of the dressing room) and especially (joining now).
“They’ve been building for quite some time, with some big acquisitions and young guys who’ve been in the league a couple of years now. You can really start to see them flourish. For them to believe in me and give me an opportunity to help, I won’t take it for granted.”
The undrafted Jooris made it to the NHL on his third try with a third team, the Calgary Flames in 2013. A one-time roommate of Johnny Gaudreau, he was on the main Flames’ roster in 2014-15 with a promising 24 points in 60 games, but his trail meandered to the Rangers, Coyotes and then the Hurricanes at the start of last year. Both Carolina and Pittsburgh, where he was traded to late in the season, assigned him to their minor affiliates for a few games, a real shock to his system.
“It’s not the easiest thing, playing for four different teams and four different groups of guys,” Jooris said. “It’s definitely adversity, bumping around, and it had been quite some time since I was in the minors.
“(But) it was a good experience and coming into this, my fifth year, I’m going to be a confident guy out there. You have a different appreciation for how hard it is to be an NHL player and to stick in this league.
“You can take (demotion) two ways; as a negative, dwell on that you don’t want to be there or that it’s part of the process of your journey. I took positives from it. At the end of the day, I’m playing hockey and that’s what I wanted.”
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