How does the son of a journeyman NBA player named Ronald “Popeye” Jones fall so hard for hockey that he’s in running to be the top pick of the 2013 NHL Draft?
CSNWashington.com’s Ben Raby caught up with Popeye regarding his son Seth Jones, learning that the Colorado Avalanche’s heyday was a big factor in him lacing up the skates.
“When we moved to Colorado when I was playing for the [Denver] Nuggets, the Avalanche was really big,” Jones said. “They had won the Stanley Cup in 1996, they had [Joe] Sakic, [Peter] Forsberg and Patrick Roy and so all the kids in the neighborhood really took to hockey and they were always playing roller hockey in the streets in our neighborhood.”
Popeye went as far as to seek the advice of Joe Sakic, who emphasized how important it was to become a strong skater.
Seth learned about “edges and angles” from a figure skating teacher and eventually embraced advice to become a defenseman. His father helped, too.
“I just kept telling him that defense wins championships,” Popeye said. “Maybe that was the professional in me, but I told him that if you can stop the other teams from scoring then you’re going to win games. After that, he really took to the position.”
The story points out that his son might tread some new athletic ground, though; Popeye was just a second-round pick, so he didn’t enter the NBA with the hype Seth will likely shoulder.