For everything Jeff Skinner has gone through this past calendar year, this might have been the most unique experience of them all.
Skinner, who was selected by Carolina in the first round of the Entry Draft last June, received All-Star distinctions in January and finished his whirlwind rookie campaign with a remarkable 31 goals and 63 points, spent a morning last month at the John Varvatos store in Soho.
While there, the Hurricanes' baby-faced rookie and finalist for the 2011 Calder Trophy tried on three different suits. His looks were photographed, and will appear on seventeen.com -- where readers will be able to vote for their favorite, choosing which one Skinner sports to the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas later this month.
"It's definitely been a pretty crazy year for me, a lot of special memories, a lot of new experiences," Skinner told NHL.com directly after his private fitting. "[Tuesday was] one of the more cool ones I think. It's not what you sort of think of when you think of playing in the NHL. It's definitely unique and it's been really fun."
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Though Skinner admitted he isn't really into fashion, he was a good sport through it all.
Regarding his personal style, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound center says he usually tries to keep it pretty simple. He owns only four suits, and bought his first "nice suit" last summer to wear to the draft.
"I'm not too crazy," Skinner said. "It's definitely not something I'm a pro in. I'll take all the advice I can get."
The Ontario native, who turned 19 on May 16, said he didn't have a clear-cut favorite out of the three suits. Skinner said he has a lot of faith in Seventeen Magazine readers, "who probably know a lot more about clothes than I do."
"He's always cared about what he looks like, but I think that he's learning more now about fashion," said his father, Andrew, who accompanied his son on the excursion. "He had some guys on his team that are into various fashion designers, so he's learning as he goes."
Skinner said two of his more fashion-forward teammates are Erik Cole and Joe Corvo. The rookie said Cole and Corvo "are probably tied" as the best-dressed players on the Canes' roster. The two are good friends, Skinner said, so it would be tough to rank one over the other.
"Some of the older guys definitely have some good style," Skinner said. "You just try to watch them and don't ask too many questions or else they kind of make fun of you. So quietly watch."
The John Varvatos visit was just another chapter of Skinner's jam-packed rookie year in which he quickly became a fan favorite in Carolina.
Skinner said one of the highlights of his first NHL season was participating the All-Star Game, which was held in Raleigh. During appearances in the days leading up to the game, dozens of girls waited outside for Skinner and chanted his name.
Skinner said one even held up a hand-made sign asking him to prom.
"I think the strange part of it was that there is probably more than one girl who asked him," his father said, with a laugh.
Skinner never had an opportunity to go to his own high school prom, as it was held the day after the draft, while he was still in Los Angeles.
One year later, Skinner is putting on a suit again. But this time, he's letting the fans chose the style.
"I think he was excited to do this whole thing," Andrew Skinner said. "I think he deals with all of the attention in stride. He keeps on an even keel, and seems to take it all in and enjoys it."
I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.
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