This year has been a turbulent one for the NHL (and in turn, fantasy hockey). The 2011-12 regular season saw some fantastic performances from the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, and Erik Karlsson. The playoffs saw the Los Angeles Kings completely dominate the competition en route to capturing their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. However, all of the positive momentum generated by the game has been snuffed out by the most ridiculous and unnecessary work stoppage in the history of professional sports.
The Los Angeles Kings were remarkably healthy during their recent Stanley Cup victory, and a large part of the credit for that goes to their strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Van Asten.
Previous to his time in Los Angeles, he was the strength and conditioning coach for Hockey Canada, and he helped Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team capture the Gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
He is the latest interview in my series with NHL strength and conditioning coaches. Read on to find out his thoughts on the industry, why this summer was different for him, and more.
When Willie Mitchell returns to Port McNeill, British Columbia, with the Stanley Cup on August 12th, the small town on the northern tip of Vancouver Island is sure to erupt in jubilation. Hard Working Willie Mitchell will finally be bringing the Cup home.
Willie Mitchell is one of the best defensive defensemen in hockey. All it took was 719 NHL regular season games, 71 NHL postseason games, and stops in New Jersey, Minnesota, Dallas, Vancouver, and Los Angeles for most people to find out. Wherever he has gone in his hockey career, he has brought with him an insatiable will to win, a quiet confidence in his abilities, a tenacity to defend his own goal, and a really long hockey stick.