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FEATURE: Hughes is Embracing Devils Culture on Path to NHL

The 2019 first-overall pick has spent the last week getting to see what the organization is all about, and has now signed his entry-level deal

by Chris Wescott TheChrisWescott / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, NJ - "It's much more than just the New Jersey Devils."

Jack Hughes hasn't been a part of the organization long - but he gets it.

Video: BEHIND-THE-SCENES | Hughes' Signing

A lot has been said about how the team places a major emphasis on the culture they're building, which is the foundation of their path to consistent success. Hughes, who the team selected first overall in June, is a major part of their future, and he's already embracing that culture.

"There's a logo, obviously, but there's a lot that comes with it," Hughes said. "A lot of responsibility, a lot of things you kind of take with pride. It's really exciting to be a part of the Devils. It's such a tight knit group, tight-knit organization. It's the kind of place where you treat the janitor with as much respect as you do the president. For me, it's a really great organization to be a part of and I'm just excited."

Hughes has now put pen to paper, signing his three-year entry-level contract with the team, inching one step closer to making his NHL debut.

"It's obviously awesome," Hughes said in an exclusive interview with NewJerseyDevils.com, moments after signing. "You dream to play in the NHL and a contract is another step towards that goal. It was, obviously, a pretty special moment."

The signing comes as we near the end of Devils Development Camp. In addition to standing out on the ice, Hughes has used this week to help acclimate to his soon-to-be home.

"For me, [camp] kind of another place where I can get more comfortable with New Jersey. I can find my way around the rink a little more and get more comfortable around here. I think it's a really good learning curve to be here."

Now as he walks through the Prudential Center, Hughes will be able to pass by the Team Store and see his name stitched to the backs of Devils jerseys. And when the season starts, fans will be wearing them in the stands.

"It's kind of crazy," he said. "Growing up, buying jerseys, looking into stores and looking at players' jerseys and now, for your jersey to be up on the sales rack, being sold, I think it's really cool and maybe it will be pretty funny to see a little kid wearing an 86-Hughes jersey."

And in just a couple of months, Hughes will more than likely be making his NHL debut. Taking part in these summer camps, getting acclimated to his new surroundings and signing his contract were all necessary steps toward that day.

"It's wild. You grew up dreaming of that and thinking about it," Hughes said. "You were looking outside the window at school, thinking about that moment. For it to possibly happen in a month or two, it's awesome and really exciting. It will be an amazing moment for me and my family and all the work I've done is leading up to that moment. It will be a dream come true and it's something I will look forward to for a lot of days to come until it happens."

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