This is the Kings’ second “fathers’ trip.’’ They held the first one two seasons ago, a one-game trip to Phoenix, but this one is longer, with stops in Chicago and Winnipeg, and was timed nicely to allow the players to spend time with family during the holiday season. Such trips have become fairly standard around the NHL — some teams have brought along mothers or siblings instead — and they seem to be a hit with the players and the family. As noted earlier, the players, fathers, coaches and some staff had a steakhouse dinner last night, and today the dads rode the bus with their son to the morning skate. The dads will watch tonight’s game together, then hop on the team charter to Winnipeg. Willie Mitchell, who had a couple similar trips while he played in Vancouver, said he enjoys the chance to spend time with his dad, Reid, who is a mechanic in British Columbia.
MITCHELL: “They’re a lot of fun. We’re lucky that the organization has given us this opportunity to bring our fathers along. Most of the teams now, I think, are starting to do it, but to sit here with the people who are so important to your lives, who raised you and gave you the opportunity to get where you are, and give them the opportunity to kind of see what we do, it’s unique and special. They get to see how we travel, see how we eat, and sometimes see how busy we are, because some people think we just go play games. It’s not that way. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into performance, so they get an inside look at that. I think it’s a lot of fun. It gives the dads some time to bond, and I’m sure they’re all pretty proud of us and they’re all enjoying it.’’
Question: A couple years ago, during the dad trip, Matt Greene talked about how, during the season, you might get to have short chats with your dad, but you rarely get time to really talk. Does a trip like this make it nice, just to spend time and talk?
MITCHELL: “Absolutely. Me and my father like to fish together, so we have that time when we’re on the boat and we chat and catch up on life in the summer. That’s a passion of his and of mine, and we enjoy that time together. But it’s different in the season. Our lives keep going. Greener nailed it on the head. Now we have time to chat about life, chat about him getting close to retirement, because that’s my father, he’s getting close to retirement. Talk about how his work is going, stuff back home. It’s just life stuff. It will be one of those things, when you look back on your career, you will feel fortunate for the chance to do this, to have this quality time together.’’