Like father, like son
A look at the number one pick for the NHL Entry Draft.
"I was like, 'Ice hockey?' You know. I mean - I didn't know anything about ice hockey," said Popeye Jones during an interview with TSN. Popeye's son, Seth, is strongly regarded as the projected number one pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft this summer - but not for the NBA like his father. "Although my dad played basketball, I just couldn't get into it. It just wasn't fast enough for me," commented Seth. Although Seth inherited his father's athleticism, he did not wish to live in his shadows.
For Canadians, it is always interesting to hear an American say that he grew up preferring hockey over basketball, football, baseball, or even darts. Along with that, his father played pro ball and did not know a thing about the great game on ice. It was during Popeye's career as a Denver Nugget when Seth's hockey interest began. Seth played street hockey with his brother and friends during his grade school years. On top of that, Seth was fortunate enough to witness the local Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in front row seats. Seth did not only like hockey, he loved it, and wanted to centre his life on the sport.
When Popeye listed Seth's options to join local sports clubs, hockey was not a part of it. This was mainly due to Popeye's lack of knowledge in the sport. Seth was hesitant to say to his dad that he wanted to play hockey, so instead he would say. "I love to skate." After a bit of confusion, Popeye finally figured out that Seth was really into a sport that was a complete mystery to him. Because of this, Popeye went to the only person he knew that knew something about hockey. This person was none other than Hockey Hall of Famer, Joe Sakic, who was playing for the Colorado Avalanche during the time. Sakic recommended that he should put Seth in skating lessons before playing in a league. Following Sakic's advice, Popeye put Seth in figure skating lessons for a year. Although it sounds like a funny idea, many great NHL players took figure skating at one point of their childhood, including Sidney Crosby, Jeff Skinner, Scott Neidermayer, and—get this—Zack Kassian.
Seth gained a lot of talent on the ice. He grew up with many scouts eyeing him during his minor hockey years. Not only was Seth gifted with skill, but he was also gifted with size, standing 6'4" and 201 pounds. His stature made him into a dynamic defenseman, who can defend well with his good skating and long reach while contributing offensively. Seth just finished his first season playing in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks, and it may be his only, as he looks to be NHL ready by next season. This past winter, Seth and Team USA won the Gold Medal in the 2013 World Junior Championships, already a major achievement for what is going to be a great hockey career. If Seth is selected first overall, he will be the first African-American to be selected first in the NHL Entry Draft. Although Seth did not want to be just like his father playing basketball, he is still athletically talented like his father. This kid will be dynamite.