Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse make history at the 2013 NHL Draft

(Associated Press)

Seth Jones, a defenseman, stands with officials from the Nashville Predators sweater after being chosen 4th overall in the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J

Seth Jones is a key piece in the Nashville Predators’ effort to return to the playoffs

It has been a historic day already at the 2013 NHL Draft. Standout defensemen Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse were selected 4th and 7th, respectively in the first round of the NHL Draft.

Jones joins Evander Kane of the Atlanta Thrashers (2009) as the two highest selected Black players in the NHL Draft. No two African-American players have been selected in the top ten of the same draft.

The suspense for Seth Jones to hear his name called in the 2013 NHL Draft took longer than expected. The 6’4″ defenseman was selected with the fourth overall pick by the Nashville Predators. The Predators missed the playoffs this season after three consecutive appearances. Seth Jones has the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning in his sights.

“I’m gonna make those top 3 teams regret not taking me.”

Seth Jones, son of former NBA player Popeye Jones is a talent who will become an instant ambassador for the game. Jones, who finished his rookie season in Portland with 14 goals, 56 points and a plus-46 rating in 61 regular-season games, was No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking list.

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic made it clear earlier this month he would not select Jones. Sakic stayed true to his word by drafting center Nathan McKinnon with the first overall selection.

Darnell Nurse, the nephew of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was selected 7th overall by the Edmonton Oilers. Nurse — who has gridiron in his blood will bring the same physicality to a rebuilding Oilers squad — looking to end their 8-year playoff drought.

Nurse at 6’4″ was encouraged to play football over hockey by his father Richard — an eight-year veteran of the CFL. Nurse had 12 goals and 41 points in 68 OHL games this season. Nurse is still filling out his physical frame and his developing NHL game.

There are as many as six minority players eligible for this years draft.

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