COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Antoine Vermette #50 of the Columbus Blue Jackets checks Jason Jaffray #41 of the Winnipeg Jets during their game on September 20, 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. The Blue Jackets defeated the Jets 5-1. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
While contemplating where he would play professional hockey this upcoming season, Jason Jaffray decided it would be best to follow the classical rock stylings of Don Henley upon narrowing his choices. It was Henley, lead singer for one of the world most popular bands the Eagles, who wailed the iconic final verse on the bands 1977 hit single Hotel California, "You can check out anytime you'd like, but you can never leave."
And so it was settled.
With that, Jaffray signed on the dotted-line, renewing his partnership with True North Sports and Entertainment and the AHL's St. John's IceCaps for at least another year.
Terms and conditions have yet to be disclosed, outside of noting that it is an AHL level contract.
In a lot of ways, TNSE has been a Hotel California of sorts for the Olds, ALTA product, who first arrived in the city of Winnipeg in 2004. After bouncing around various ECHL and AHL organizations for the better part of two seasons, Jaffray wound up in the lap of the Manitoba Moose. While a member of the Moose, Jaffray enjoyed his most productive years as a professional hockey player, posting career highs and consecutive benchmarks of 47, 81, and 48 points between 2006-08. His offensive skill allotted Jaffray his first shot in the NHL; a short stint with the Vancouver Canucks in which he recorded 6 points in 19 games.
Jaffray went on to sign with the Calgary Flames the following year where he spent the majority of it playing for their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, BC, but true to the song, Jaffray could in fact, never leave. By 2010-11 he had re-signed with TNSE before injuries derailed his playing time in mid-October.
After successful rehabilitation and TNSE's acquisition of the Atlanta Thrashers, Jaffray found himself captaining the St. John's IceCaps -- formerly the Manitoba Moose -- heading into 2011-12.
As a sign of good faith and familiarity with one of "their guys", Jaffray was again rewarded with NHL playing time as one of the first calls-ups of the Winnipeg Jets due to a rash of injuries that struck the team through November and December. Upon his re-assignment to the AHL, Jaffray befell to a season-ending neck injury that required a spinal fusion. He finished his campaign with 38 points in 47 games and served as an assistant coach on the teams drive to the Calder Cup Conference Finals.