Defenseman Seth Jones is not only looking to become the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, but possibly being represented by Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports. Should the two pair up, the deal would be huge not only for Jones, but for the NHL as a whole.
According to the New York Post's Kirsten Fleming:
The next target for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports banner is potential No. 1 NHL draft pick Seth Jones, according to sources. The son of Nets assistant coach and former Nuggets player Popeye Jones is already repped by CAA, Roc Nation’s partner. But sources said Jay-Z’s organization wants to strike a deal to be involved in the star’s marketing and branding.
The move would be tremendous for hockey and the growth of the game in the United States. Jay-Z's remarkable reach in terms of marketing within popular culture would bring new fans to the league and spark interest in new markets.
If selected with the first overall pick in the draft, Jones would become the first African-American player to earn that honor. Along with that, Jones would only be the seventh top pick who was born on American soil.
The Colorado Avalanche won the draft lottery, so they will have the option of making Jones the top pick. With a defense that struggled this year, the Avalanche can definitely use Jones to improve their team for the foreseeable future.
Jones currently has his Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Finals. He has been spectacular this season, recording 14 goals and 42 assists in 61 games. The big defender has proven to be a great playmaker in addition to his strong defensive skills.
In addition to having the Jay-Z connection, Jones will also garner attention because of his famous father, Ronald "Popeye" Jones. The former NBA forward played for six teams and is currently an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets.
As a truly prominent African-American hockey player, Jones' presence in the league will help to break down even more barriers for the sport.
This Powerade ad highlights the views toward African-Americans in hockey:
Jones, with the help of Jay-Z, would be able to break that down by presenting a viable option for African-Americans to choose hockey. While there are a number of African-American players in the NHL, none will have the marketing reach that Jones currently does.
According to The Hockey News' Jason Kay, Jones has acknowledge this potential impact.
Seth Jones, in Draft Preview, says if he goes No. 1 he hopes "it will help other African-American kids play hockey."— Jason Kay (@JKTHN) April 18, 2013
The combination of Jones' on-ice talent and Jay-Z's marketing has potential to make hockey a "cool" sport. While thousands of kids in America choose soccer, basketball or football, very few decide to play hockey. By signing with Jay-Z, Jones has the chance to make a difference in changing the cultural attitude toward hockey.