Sunday, history was made at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, New Jersey. Defenseman Seth Jones became the first African-American to be a top five pick in the NHL draft.
Jones was expected to go first overall to the Colorado Avalanche, but things changed when Avalanche Executive Vice President Joe Sakic told the Denver Post a week before the draft they would pass on Seth Jones and look at the forward position a week before the draft. When the time came, the Avalanche selected forward Nathan MacKinnon.
Jones looked disappointed.
If Jones would have been selected first overall, it would have made an enormous impact on the game of hockey and the NHL in their nationwide efforts to bring hockey to inner-city kids. The amount of attention Jones would receive from the major sports outlets like ESPN and Fox Sports would give young, African-American hockey players an idol to look up to.
Unfortunately for the league, Jones slowly slipped from one…to two…to three…and to four where the Nashville Predators drafted him.
Sure, there were reasons why each team did not want to draft Jones. For Colorado, it was bringing in Patrick Roy as head coach. Roy changed the minds of Avalanche's draft brass greatly. Last season, Roy was the head coach of the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. On some nights, Roy had to coach against Nathan MacKinnon, meaning he had first-hand knowledge of his ability.
But for the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning to select forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin, respectively, over Jones is simply astonishing.
Florida General Manager Dale Tallon said the reason he passed on Jones is because he is stacked with defensemen–take that as you will. Adding Jones would have given them the ultimate opportunity to shut down Steven Stamkos for the next several years.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman felt Jonathan Drouin was the best fit for their team because of play-making abilities. Selecting Drouin still leaves the Lightning's defense as mediocre.
Those can't possibly be the real excuses, but what other excuse is there?
Reportedly, Jay-Z is trying to sign Seth Jones to Roc Nations Sports Agency, specifically focused on player marketing. Jones, along with his father Popeye, are currently represented by CAA, but rapper Jay-Z is trying to partner up with CAA in order to market Seth Jones to the nation.
Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports currently represents NBA superstar Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and MLB second baseman Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. Adding Jones to the list would mean it would be Roc Nation's first time representing an NHL player in the company's short history.
Recently, Kevin Durant hired Roc Nation to represent him, which raised questions about his possible departure from Oklahoma City to the Brooklyn Nets.
"Durant doesn't want a traditional NBA agent anymore," a league source with knowledge of his thinking told Yahoo! Sports. "He wants Jay-Z to handle his branding. …He had a chance to be with his idol and couldn't say no."
Jay-Z's slogan for Roc Nation Sports is #NEWRULES. He is going to change the way sports agency is done.
The hip hop mogul dropped out from being a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets because he couldn't persuade players aggressively to come play for his team, according to league rules. Now, he is a sports agent to do just that thing–persuade superstars into playing for his team so they can win championships.
It is unknown who Jay-Z's favorite team is, but since he is a Brooklyn, New York native, it is likely he becomes a fan when the New York Islanders move to his home town in 2015. Around the same time the team moves, Jones' entry-level contract will be on its final year. You can guarantee Jay-Z will be whispering in his ear to leave Nashville and play for Brooklyn.
Not to mention, Seth's father is the assistant coach of the Nets. If he is able to keep the job for a number of years, it increases the risk of him moving to New York.
Yes, Jay-Z's main focus will be on sports marketing, but he will have an impact on Jones' decision making whether it is telling him he deserves more money or to leave the Preds.
That could be the danger teams like the Panthers and Lightning are thinking about, while the Predators are blind to the situation. Jay-Z's #NEWRULES could end up killing David Poile. Forget the Russian-effect, the new "thing" may be the Jay-Z effect.