MONTREAL - When it appeared that Nate Thompson was on the move last month, his wife Sydney had an inkling about where hockey was taking them next.
It turned out that she was right all along, predicting that the veteran forward would be a Hab before it ultimately came to fruition on February 11 in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
"When I heard that his name was kind of rumored around, I knew in my gut he was coming here. I don't know why, but you just trust your gut and intuition. I told him "You're going to Montreal, you're going to Montreal." I told him that I had that feeling," explained Sydney. "When I found out, I was so excited because I knew this was a bucket list dream for him."
After the Canadiens returned from their California road trip in early March, Sydney finally relocated from Southern California and joined Nate in Montreal on a full-time basis.
The couple, who married in August 2018, recently moved into their own digs downtown after enjoying the comforts of a hotel for a while.
If Nate took to the city quickly, the same can be said for his better half. It's been a change of scenery the pair has wholeheartedly embraced.
"I like that when we walk out the door, there's always something to do, something to eat," mentioned Sydney, a Beverly Hills, CA native. "At home in LA, we usually have our routine. Here, we can do something new every single day. I'm really enjoying it. We both are."
Her parents even flew in for a visit and gave Montreal an enthusiastic thumbs up.
"Maybe the cold was a bit of a shock, but they loved it. My mother-in-law, she actually speaks French fluently. She was excited to be able to speak it. They travel to Paris a lot," said Nate. "My father-in-law even gets sick of the heat sometimes, so he kind of likes going to the cold."
The Thompsons' two dogs are fond of Quebec, too. Four-year-old miniature golden doodle, Iggy, and two-year-old yellow lab, Eddie, enjoy roaming around and exploring their new surroundings during their long walks.
"I've been taking them around the whole city. I took them strolling down Sainte-Catherine Street the other day for a few hours. We went to the Apple Store," recounted Sydney. "We live by the beach in LA, so it's a little bit slower down there. Our dogs are getting a bit more attention here, I guess."
Hitting up the Bell Centre to watch Nate and the Canadiens in action is by far her favorite activity, though.
She'd always wanted to see him ply his trade there, but never had the opportunity before he joined the Habs. That makes being in the stands on a regular basis even more unique.
"This was on my bucket list. I think this is the best place I've seen a game," praised Sydney. "I could see the excitement for him when he was playing that first game and every game after that. It's amazing. It's wonderful to see your spouse so happy out there."
Sydney's support is key
Sydney's arrival in Montreal meant the world to Nate.
"She's huge. She tries to make home as easy as possible for me," explained the 12-year NHL veteran, who is playing for his seventh club. "Knowing that I have to prepare for games, that I have to take care of my body, that I need to get the proper rest and eat right, she kind of puts that all in place for me."
That shouldn't come as a surprise given Sydney's background in the fitness industry as a Pilates instructor.
They even train together during the offseason.
"We train three times per week during the summer. It helps him a lot with his range of motion and strengthening his core. I think it has really improved his overall well-being," mentioned Sydney. "It really is a hard, kick-your-butt kind of workout. There are up-and-down movements and weights. It's as much a band circuit workout as you would think a normal workout would be, but with a Pilates reformer involved."
While Nate took to the Pilates-based workouts right away, Sydney doesn't think he fully appreciated the intensity of the sessions until he experienced it first-hand.
"He was sweating," said Sydney with a chuckle. "I have some good videos of him dripping sweat, laughing because it was so uncomfortable."
Discomfort aside, Nate clearly values both her supportive nature and her willingness to assist him in the gym.
They're just a few of the many things he loves about his biggest fan.
"I think also her overall thoughtfulness. She's always so selfless with everything. She's always taking care of everybody," praised Nate. "That's always been her M.O. since I met her. She has always wanted to help everyone else out."