This week the Richmond Free Press, one of many weekly newspapers around the country that serve a black community, gave rare top sports billing to the NHL to report Seth Jones (center of photo) was expected to be the first black player selected No. 1 in the draft. The Denver Post reported almost simultaneously that the Colorado Avalanche would not take Jones first.
The Free Press headline read, “Hockey star in line to make history – Seth Jones expected to be first black player selected No. 1 in NHL draft.”
The Avalanche’s Joe Sakic told the Post on Tuesday that the Avalanche would not pick Jones, and on Thursday told ESPN.com that they would choose one of three forwards – Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin or Aleksander Barkov. It appears Jones’ only chance now is if the Avalanche trade the first pick.
NHL.com reported, “Jones, a 6-foot-3.5, 205-pound blueliner, had 14 goals, 42 assists and a plus-40 rating in 61 regular-season games for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League and helped them reach the championship game of the Memorial Cup. He also helped the United States win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.”
Sakic cannot be accused of anything other than evaluating team needs. In an ironic twist, it was Sakic who years ago suggested that Denver Nuggets forward Popeye Jones put his son, Seth, into skating lessons.