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Teen is first Jewish No. 1 overall pick in NHL draft

Jack Hughes

Jack Hughes was first overall pick by the New Jersey Devils in the 2019 NHL draft. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty)

NEW YORK — Jack Hughes, even at 18, is no stranger to making history. And now he’s done it again, becoming the first Jewish player to be drafted No. 1 overall by the National Hockey League.

The New Jersey Devils picked Hughes, a Florida native who grew up in Ontario, Canada, on June 21. He’s the son of a Jewish mother and Catholic father — both big-time hockey players back in the day — who attended Catholic high school but had a Bar Mitzvah.

“We did Passover when we were younger,” the teen phenom told “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN Radio this week.

His older brother, Quinn, was the No. 7 pick a year ago by the Vancouver Canucks. Both were members of the US squad in the Men’s World Championship last month in Slovakia. They have a 15-year-old brother, Luke, who appears to be following in their footsteps.

Being chosen No. 1 overall “obviously is special . . . really exciting,” he told Kay and his sidekicks.

In the recently completed season, the 5-10, 170-pound forward broke the US National Team Development Program record for points with 190.

For Hughes and his brothers, the hockey lineage comes from their parents.

Mom Ellen Weinberg-Hughes was a member of the US women’s national squad that took silver in the 1992 World Championships, while dad Jim played for Providence College before becoming a coach and working in player development with the NHL’s Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It’s in my blood to be an athlete, to be a hockey player,” Hughes said on the Kay show. “My parents are having a ball with it.”

The Devils expect quite a bit from their top choice.

“I think he’s going to change our organization,” an executive and a former star goalie with the club said, according to the Breaking Israel News website. “He’s a tremendous talent.”


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