Jimmy Jones was a checking centre who played two seasons plus a game for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the late 1970s. He formed an effective penalty killing and defensive partnership with winger Jerry Butler in those two years.
Born in Woodbridge, Ontario, just north of Toronto, Jones played three years of junior with the OHA's Peterborough Petes under Roger Neilson. Although he was a strong checker, Jones broke out with 37 goals in his last amateur season in 1972-73. His penalty killing technique was aided by all the time he spent with teammates Bob Gainey and Doug Jarvis. That summer he was selected 31st overall in the Amateur Draft by the Boston Bruins and was claimed by the WHA's Vancouver Blazers in that league's selection meetings. Jones played parts of two seasons for the Blazers then played two full years with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
In the fall of 1977, new Toronto Maple Leafs coach Neilson encouraged management to sign Jones to be the club's checking pivot. After Jerry Butler was acquired from St. Louis, Toronto had themselves one of the top checking tandems in the game. Jones' strong work against the top scoring forwards on the opposition helped the Leafs record 92 points and reach the semi-finals for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 1967. The tenacious pivot enjoyed a particularly strong series in the first round when he stifled L.A. Kings star centre Marcel Dionne.
Jones played well in 1978-79 with regular linemates Butler and Pat Boutette but the team regressed in the standings. He only played one game in 1979-80 then finished out his career in the minors before retiring in 1981. The next year Jones moved into coaching when he was hired to guide the junior Toronto Marlboros, a posting that lasted two seasons.