NEWARK, NJ - For New Jersey Devils prospect Jack Hughes, the feeling of putting his skates on to the ice was much needed.
Eyes certainly followed as Hughes made his debut in his No. 86 Devils jersey, but the young center could only focus on what he loves most: playing hockey.
Video: DEV CAMP | Hughes' First Day
The hoopla of being the first-overall pick in any draft will follow a player for a while - certainly at its height for the first few weeks. For Hughes, it has been no different. But as he took to the ice at Barnabas Health Hockey House, he focused on taking in the entire experience of his first NHL Development Camp.
"I just got here last night, so it's early in the week and I know that there's going to be a lot of things I learn," Hughes said. "Obviously, I'll get a lot more comfortable in New Jersey over the course of the week, kind of find my way around the rink, get to know the area a little bit better, and have some fun. So, it'll be a good week for me to experience some things and a good learning curve."
Hughes is joined by three other teammates from the United States National Team Development Program, bringing a sense of familiarity to a brand-new experience.
"I think it's just pretty cool to look around the room and see guys you've kind of grown up playing with and played with over the last couple years," he said, "so it's pretty cool to see that and all be in the same organization."
Video: RAW | Jack Hughes
Hughes is rooming with forward Joey Anderson, who made his NHL debut last season and is coming into development camp as one of the veterans. They both watched Monday night's MLB home run derby together, but Hughes isn't afraid to use this experience for more than bonding.
"I think you can learn a lot of things," he said. "Obviously, there's a lot of smart people here, a lot of guys that played in the NHL and can teach you a lot of things. For me, I think it's all a learning curve for me and just trying to figure some things out."
The Tough Questions With…. Jack Hughes
What was your favorite sports rivalry growing up, outside of hockey? Definitely LeBron [James] versus Golden State or Tiger versus Mickelson.
What movie can you watch over and over again, no problem? Good Will Hunting
What is your least favorite nickname that you've ever been given? "Junior". They called me that at my gym when I was really young because [my older brother] Quinn was 'Hughes', so I became 'Junior'.
What food do you crave most often? I like my snack-food, which is pretzels.
What language do you wish you could fluently speak? French, probably.
What meal are you best at preparing for yourself? Salami sandwich, just salami and mustard with bread.
If you weren't a hockey player, what career path would you be pursuing? Well, I wouldn't be pursuing it, but I'd want to be a country music singer or professional golfer.
What's the longest road trip you've ever taken? Driving? We had a couple of 15-hour ones to Nebraska for hockey. And [my family] always drive to the lake house too, which is about 12 hours in New Hampshire.
Is a hotdog a sandwich? No.
What character on TV would you want to be and live their life? Archie Andrews [from Riverdale].
What chore at home do you find the least enjoyable? Any of my dishes. I hate doing dishes.