Dad's hug, mom's kisses, brothers' handshakes, sisters' hugs. The routine that awaits every player when he hears his name spoken by an NHL team has been the same since the dawn of time. Except for Jack Hughes.
Claimed 51st overall by the Los Angeles Kings on Friday, the Northeastern University forward had to wait until he was on the court to receive the congratulations of his father.
Accompanied by Martin St-Louis, Papa Kent, the general manager of the Canadiens, was waiting for his son near the stairs leading to the team tables.
“He came to congratulate me. That was really cool“, Launched the young man, who became the first catch of the Kings at this auction.
Encouraging him, supporting him, congratulating him and celebrating, this is the maximum that the GM of the Habs intended to do for his son during those two days.
“Despite the temptation, he was clear with me. My father told me that he would avoid drafting me at all costs,” said the center player.
Avoid the pressure
Hughes wanted to save his son from the extra pressure he needed in an already stifling market.
“Personally, that wouldn't have bothered me. It wouldn't have changed anything for me, mentioned the young man, with all the candor of his 18 years. The only thing that matters to me is playing in the NHL. Whether in Montreal, Los Angeles or elsewhere.
Which did not prevent the members of the management of the Canadian from getting up to congratulate Kent Hughes on hearing the Kings announce their selection.
No, there is nothing normal about being the son of a general manager. The content of the discussions leading up to the auction is unlike that which a father and his son have around the table.
“Even if he hadn't been a general manager, it wouldn't have been a normal conversation,” said Jack, recalling that his father was previously a players' agent. He prepared me for the draft by telling me not to expect to be drafted as high as my expectations.
“He explained to me how it works and how crazy it can be at times. He also advised me to enjoy the moment, sit back and -wait to see what would happen. »
Having the head coach of a rival team shake your hand before your own coach is another rather unusual moment.
St-Louis, a second father
It should be remembered that Jack Hughes and Ryan St-Louis, one of the CH driver's sons, grew up together in the American development program. They are also teammates with the Northeastern Huskies in Boston.
“For times over the past two years, Martin has been like a second father,” he explained.
“He was not drafted and, despite everything, he became the player we know. I received good advice from him. Besides, it's easy to learn about hockey when my father and Martin surround you. »