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VIDEO: NHL holds first-ever Rookie Orientation Program
The NHL held its first-ever Rookie Orientation Program on Thursday, a new initiative that came about from negotiations in last fall's lockout and new collective bargaining agreement.
"We think it's an opportunity to talk to an incoming class of players, about 90 players here from all 30 teams," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. "And, really, take them through a bunch of life messages."
On-hand were high-profile rookies like Nashville's Seth Jones, as well as sophomores like Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau and Stanley Cup champion Brandon Saad.
"It's pretty cool," said Saad, who was nominated for the league's rookie of the year for 2013. "You know, there's a lot of talented guys coming into the league and I know some faces from growing up playing with them and also playing against them, so it's nice to meet them and say hello and be familiar with each other."
"We learned a lot of stuff today," said Florida's Huberdeau. "There's a lot of different things to learn about and I think it's nice that they create this event for all the rookies to come and learn some stuff."
"I think it's very important," said Jones, who was the fourth overall pick in July's NHL Entry Draft. "Anything that you may be put through, or even just new stuff coming into the league regarding the P.A. (Players' Association) or just anything else."
Jones has already been exposed to a few trials and tribulations of young players. He was widely rumoured to be the first pick in this summer's draft, but was passed over for Nathan MacKinnon. He fell to fourth overall and was drafted by Nashville.
Jones is also currently represented by Jay-Z's talent agency – Roc-Nation.
"It's certainly something that would have been very useful, thinking back to when I was a rookie, when I came in the league," said Mathieu Schneider, an NHL veteran of 13 years and 10 teams. "This is very valuable for the kids and I think it's just going to grow and get more important as we go forward."