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Where Are They Now: Willie Mitchell

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Willie Mitchell was born and raised in the small town logging town of Port McNeill, British Columbia, located on the northeast shores of Vancouver Island. Mitchell spent 15 seasons in the NHL with six different franchises, including four seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He also played in over 900 NHL games, won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings, and captained the Florida Panthers for two seasons, before hanging up his skates in 2016.

Career With Vancouver

In the summer of 2006, the Vancouver Canucks inked Mitchell to a four-year deal. During his four-year tenure with the Canucks Mitchell played in 264 games, notching 58 points, 233 penalty minutes, and carried a positive plus/minus of 49. Prior to the 2008 season after the departure of long-time Canucks captain Markus Naslund, Mitchell was considered to be the favorite to become the Canucks 12th captain in franchise history. Although the Canucks awarded the captaincy to goaltender Roberto Luongo, Mitchell was awarded the role as an assistant captain as well as taking on the traditional captain role on the ice of disputing calls and relaying messages to the Canucks coaches. Mitchell cited his most memorable moment as a Canuck being “skating out for his first game at then GM place, saying it was “living a boyhood dream, I always dreamed of being a Vancouver Canuck”. Mitchell also noted his only career regret was not helping bring a Stanley Cup to Vancouver saying “I kind of did everything I wanted in my career, the one regret I had was in Vancouver not winning a cup.” he then added, “We were good enough to, we just didn’t put it together at the right time.”

Life After Hockey

Since Mitchell retired in 2016 he has been nothing short of busy. He and his wife have welcomed two children, and Mitchell himself has found himself as an entrepreneur and business owner, five businesses to be exact including the Tofino Resort + Marina in beautiful Tofino British Columbia. Mitchell says “It has been quite the challenge, and I have loved it”.

With a young family as well as 120 employees Mitchell still manages to find time for his passion for adventuring. As he said “I am an adventure nerd” whether it be in Tofino or Whistler, Mitchell is always chasing an adventure.

One of his passions is in fact fishing, as seen by fans when he spent a day finishing with the Stanley Cup or the numerous different videos and pictures the Canucks gave fans of Mitchell on the water. All different kinds of finishing, whether it be fly fishing, salmon fishing, or off-shore blue water fishing he is still fishing. Recently he has been spending time fishing at a new fishery in British Columbia, he is fishing about 70 miles off Vancouver Island fishing for all different species of tuna. Come wintertime Mitchell will pull out his fly guy and fish for steelhead.

When it comes to hockey Mitchell has no involvement in any form at the moment. Although post-retirement he did have various offers, such as NBC sports, some coaching, and even play-by-play from an unnamed team. As for his reasoning, he said “I have chosen to distance myself from it” adding “I put a lot of effort and time of my life into it, it was awsome I am so grateful for it but for me, it was just turn the page and there’s more to life than just a sport”.

What is Next For Willie Mitchell

Mitchell has not completely ruled out never returning to hockey in some capacity saying “I’m sure the time will come where I go back in an ice arena”. Although for now he is focused on his family as well as his business ventures.

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