Seth Jones, the best junior hockey player on the planet, finished up his chat with a couple of TV guys, one local scribe and the Portland Winterhawks’ website staff outside the team’s dressing room Tuesday morning, looking relaxed and well-turned out in a nice blue suit and open-necked black shirt. He didn’t look like he’d just had all his teeth pulled like some kids, who freeze in front of a camera. Being interviewed is just one more stop on Jones’s day. Every day. His day-timer is a little more crowded than those of most kids, and he unabashedly says he enjoys the interaction with the media. It’s not a chore, at all. Tell that to some NHLers. “Don’t forget ESPN, 4 o’clock,” said Winterhawks’ PR man Graham Kendrick, in a gentle reminder to Jones, who will be the first name called on June 30 in Newark at the NHL draft, by the Colorado Avalanche.No suspense there. “Yeah, great. Fine,” said the 18-year-old defenceman, who is making his first stop in Edmonton this Western Hockey League season — games 3 and 4 of the final series with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Pay close attention. You won’t see him next season — or maybe again this season if Portland knocks of the Oil Kings twice here to take a 3-1 series lead. Jones, who is 6’4″ and 208 pounds and the building block defenceman every NHL team craves, is one and done with the WHL. Just a single junior season. Unlike a lot of kids that big, he hasn’t had to grow into his body. There’s no awkwardness to him at all. He’s a great skater. Heavy shot, nice first pass up the ice, strong defender. Maybe no mean streak, but when he plays against men, he’ll likely get more abrasive. Not that you necessarily need that. Was Jones’s favourite defenceman Nick Lidstrom tough? “This is it for Seth in our league,” said Oil Kings’ GM Bob Green. “He’ll be a nice piece for Colorado.” Nice piece for hip-hop legend Jay-Z, too, if his new sports agency, Roc Nation, gets its hands on Jones. Jay-Z, Beyonce’s better half, was quoted in the New York Times as saying the firm wants to be involved in the African-American hockey player’s “marketing and branding”.
Seth Jones is one cool customer
Edmonton Journal | May 8