by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

Seth Jones tried all the other sports — baseball, football, soccer, even basketball; his dad, Popeye Jones, was a longtime NBA player and is an Indiana Pacers assistant. Nothing matched hockey.

Seth learned about hockey while his father was with the Denver Nuggets, who shared Pepsi Center with the Colorado Avalanche. Then-Avalanche center Joe Sakic (the current Colorado GM) advised Popeye to have his sons work on their skating. Seth took skating classes before beginning to play organized hockey at age 6.

At age 15, Jones left his family to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After two seasons with the USNTDP, the defenseman joined Portland of the Western Hockey League in 2012-13 and helped it win the WHL title and advance to the final of the Memorial Cup. He also was part of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Jones was rated as the No. 1 North American skater in the 2013 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting but was selected No. 4 by the Nashville Predators, tying him with forward Evander Kane (2009 by the Atlanta Thrashers) as the highest-drafted black player in NHL history.

The Predators quickly signed Jones, who became a regular as an NHL rookie in 2013-14. Midway through his third season, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen. He was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2017-18 after finishing with NHL career highs of 16 goals, 41 assists and 57 points, and played in his second NHL All-Star Game in 2019.