It’s been one of the highlights of Bears games this season – the anticipation of what Garrett Mitchell will do in the pregame. Hershey fans are accustomed to Mitchell “checking” the glass, but this season, he’s had a bit of fun with the media who are in the Zamboni entrance taking pictures during warm ups.
“I think I’ve always been a guy to focus on what I’m doing on the ice, but at the same time you think of playing 102 hockey games last year,” said Mitchell. “If your mind’s always on, that’s a tiring thing, so we like to have some fun, whether that’s on the ice for practices or wherever that is, so warm ups is a time to try to get focused, but it’s also fun to have a little bit of fun with everybody at the same time.”
The captain led a pretty young bunch all the way to the Calder Cup Finals last season. Still, 102 games? That’s quite a bit of hockey.
“No for sure we had obviously a great run last year,” he said. “It was one of those things that we didn’t know how good we would potentially be until quite a ways into the season. Every season you go in obviously trying to achieve playing the last game of the year and winning that. Last year we weren’t able to do that, but for the group we had last year and as many young guys as we had I thought to make that run was awesome.”
A tough guy when he needs to be, he argues with officials when warranted (as the discussion above after Hubert Labrie was sent head-first into the boards), sometimes gets into a fight, but most of the time, he just has fun and puts on a good show for the fans.
Oh, and he also likes to have a bit of fun with the media as well. This year’s pre-game, on-ice ritual has included a variety of clips that we’ve dubbed “Fun With Mitchell”.
And he’s no different towards teammates, especially the young guys who aren’t used to the AHL grind.
“It’s tough because you go from playing maybe 40-50 games over there. I think we played 102 -103 last year so that’s a big change in schedule,” Mitchell said. “Even for the guys who come from the western league, CHL or college hockey you play just as many games before Christmas as you do all year in college, so it’s a big change for those guys and just trying to keep them on the same page as much as you can.”
Off the ice, he’s just as fun-loving, a fan favorite, especially among kids. Perhaps that’s because he’s about to be a father again and can relate to Hershey’s youngest fans.
“We’re pretty close. April 1st is the day, but, yeah, I’m kind of on standby here everyday as we go,” he said. “It’s one of those things we’re getting pretty excited for. You know, I’m in a housefull of girls right now so it’s pretty exciting.”
Hershey’s schedule isn’t too conducive to being home the rest of the way. The Bears play a majority of their home contests early and then hit the road while the Giant Center is used for playoff basketball and wrestling. Also on the horizon is a trip to St. John’s, the final one before they relocate.
“That’s one of the things we’ll have to keep an eye on. I’ve already talked to Troy and Beaker and Helms about it,” Mitchell said. “It’s one of those things we’ll just keep an eye on. It’s not an easy place to get out of. There’s only a couple of flights a day out of St. John’s. I’m just hoping it comes maybe a little early and I don’t have to worry about that. That’s the 25th, so it’s going to be right around that time I think.”
For now, the fun-loving Mitchell is enjoying coming up with new additions to his pregame routine, but has admitted he’s running out of ideas. Sunday’s idea was supplied by a young fan who asked me to pass along that he’d like to see Mitchell make it rain.
“Yeah, I can do that,” Mitchell said, and he did. What’s next? Who knows, but there have been requests for the Tebow and the Dab, so Garrett, if you’re reading this, there you go.
And, we’re compiling those video clips for an end-of-season montage. Keep an eye out for that!
NoVa Caps Quick Questions for Prospects
The best part of playing in Hershey is – definitely the fans and my six years here has been an awesome experience. Just being part of this community has been amazing so when we can sell this place out with maybe 6000 people who live in Hershey is amazing.
Teammate I’d never want to fight – Siller I think. I fought him already, but he’s tough. Sill throws lefts and when you have a guy who throws lefts it’s pretty tough to combat him unless you’re going to throw lefts. Probably Siller. Lewie is kooky so, Lewie’s up there too. You know what, I’d actually say Chris Bourque because you don’t know what he’s going to do – he might swing at your head with a stick. I actually change the whole thing because I think Bourquey might swing at your head with a stick.
I try to model my game after – When I was growing up, I was obviously from Regina, I was a huge Regina Pats fan. I was fortunate enough to play 4 years with the Pats. There was a guy by the name of Garth Murray – he was the captain of the team when I was growing up, you know it’s kind of funny because as I got older and started playing, whether that was junior or pro, I started playing with him, so I’d say Garth – it’s kind of funny now that we’re kind of buddies.
Favorite Sport Other Than Hockey – Probably golf – I’m not that great but I like to play as much as I can.
If I Wasn’t Playing Hockey I would – That’s a tough question because as hockey players we want to be focused on the game as much as we can, but I don’t really know. If I wasn’t playing hockey I think something involving hockey like maybe coaching or something else with hockey.
Worst roadtrip memory – Not this year going to Bridgeport, but last year we had like an 8 hour trip to Bridgeport. We left the night before and we didn’t get in until about 5:30 in the morning and then we had a 1:00 game that day, so that was tough. That was probably the worst one ever and it was just because of the snow. We hit a pretty bad snow storm going up and so instead of being 4/4.5 hours it was 7 or 8 and we got in really late. That’s a tough one the next day, we ended up winning 6-1 or something like that. I remember Troy saying to keep our minds sharp and hoping nobody gets hurt, but we played really, really well.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 5, 2017