Hockey Correspondent and Occasional Shakespeare Character, White Cover Magazine
The NHL’s Draft combine is underway and – despite the all-world Memorial Cup performance from Nathan MacKinnon and a maybe-better World Junior championship from Jonathan Drouin – all indications tend to state without a doubt that Portland Winterhawks blueline behemoth Seth Jones will be selected before anyone else, and be selected by the Colorado Avalanche.
In a few short months, Jones has made a name for himself. Down there, he’s known as “Popeye’s Son”. Down there, he’s known as Jay-Z’s client. But, down there, he’s still not largely that known.
Maybe it’s the Canadian in me that’s proud of the above video, a rare and therefore special ESPN E:60 profile of a hockey player. I will admit I giggle just a little bit when the American sportscenter puts our national sport and its future stars on the same platform as Robert Griffin III or even a female little league superstar.
Ryan Gosling calls it Canadian OCD – that desperate need for us Beavers and Moose to always list off every famous Canuck who’s ever made a name for himself or herself in the land of the Star Spangled Red, White, and Blue hue.
Of course, Jones isn’t even Canadian, but it doesn’t matter, because he still plays just down the road from us British Columbians – in Oregon – and we’ve seen him plenty more than we’ve seen MacKinnon, Drouin, or anyone from the nine provinces and territories not in the Western Hockey League.
I personally tend to have a fan’s close connection with the rare American top picks, although they seem to be multiplying since Rick DiPietro became the first ever Screaming Eagle to go first overall in the year 2000.
I watched Patrick Kane slice the OHL a new one – Erik Karlsson-style – for a whole season in London during my sophomore year at Western University. I was as surprised as anyone to see him levitate as if out of nowhere to No. 1, but what a fine choice he’s been for Chicago. Now, as a Canucks kid, we know Patrick Kane well and our goaltenders know him even better.
If Colorado picks Jones, they’d then have both him and 2006 No. 1 pick Erik Johnson, meaning the Canucks would a couple high-profile former Yankee standouts for some time to come.
And, who knows where Roberto Luongo will end up, but there’s always the very-far-in-the-distance chance that Vancouver could send him to the Islanders and receive DiPietro’s contract in return.
Jones first got into hockey because his favourite player was Burnaby boy Joe Sakic, and Sakic told Popeye to get Seth skating lessons when he was just a kid. (That was the same British Columbian born Sakic who won two Stanley Cups in Denver and could now be the one responsible for selecting in the kid in the 2013 NHL Draft. Boy, this thing really is coming full circle.)
So, be proud of Seth Jones. He’s practically one of us.
(Okay, this whole article was a stretch, but watch the videos… because they’re cool.)