DALLAS - Life after hockey has Torrey Mitchell and his family residing in a very familiar place.
Mitchell, whose playing days came to an end after last season with Switzerland's Lausanne HC, is living in South Burlington, VT with his wife, Brindy, and three young girls - Kate, 5, Emma, 3, and Claire, 18 months.
The former Habs forward starred collegiately at the University of Vermont between 2004 and 2007, and spent his offseasons training in the Green Mountain State while still in the NHL ranks.
So when retirement finally came calling, the Greenfield Park native knew exactly where he wanted to raise his kids - and officially become a business owner, too.
Mitchell, 34, and his former Catamounts teammate, Peter Lenes, recently opened ELEV802, a state-of-the art custom ice rink and personal training facility in Essex Junction, VT located just a two-hour drive south of his hometown.
"It's very unique to the entire state," said Mitchell, who appeared in 666 career NHL games over the course of 11 seasons between San Jose, Minnesota, Buffalo, Montreal and Los Angeles. "The more I knew that hockey was coming to an end, the more I realized I wanted to stay involved in the game somehow. Now that I've jumped head first into it, I'm really loving it."
ELEV802 features a 56' x 36' ice rink that is open year-round for hockey training and skill development, along with a 1,200 square foot gym space for individual and small-group workouts as well.
Mitchell and Lenes focus their efforts on the on-ice component of the business, of course.
"The hockey training is designed by the two of us. He's really good with stickhandling and other skill stuff, and I'm really good with the skating aspect. We're kind of feeding pretty good off each other right now," mentioned Mitchell, who relishes the opportunity to lace up his skates and hit the ice with clients. "We bring a lot of energy, and we try to have a good mix of fun and hard work when we're out there. It's fresh every day for me."
You don't have to be an elite athlete to take advantage of ELEV802's services, though.
"We're helping everyone out. It's for people of all ages and skill levels, from beginners onward," insisted Mitchell. "We wanted to give back to the hockey community that was really appreciative of us when we were playing for UVM, and we get to pass on everything we learned to the next generation."
Based on his family history, it was essentially pre-destined that Mitchell would enter the teaching or coaching profession at some point in time.
So far, so good, according to the recent UVM Hall of Fame inductee.
"My mom and dad were teachers, my brother's a gym teacher and a hockey coach, so I guess it's in the family a little bit," said Mitchell. "I wouldn't have it any other way right now. It's a good mix of being able to start a business, remain in hockey in some capacity, and still enjoy getting up and doing something I know a lot about. At the same time, though, I can be a good dad and a good family man."
And fatherhood definitely keeps Mitchell occupied when he isn't at ELEV802.
"It's busy, very busy," joked Mitchell. "With three girls, they love daddy, they want to be around daddy all the time. I'm pretty spoiled. My wife stays home with them, but when I'm home, they're all over me. I wouldn't change it for anything."
Mitchell sported the colors of five NHL teams over the years, but his stint with the CH will always hold a special place in his heart.
He suited up for 174 regular-season games, scoring 19 goals and collecting 37 points.
"It was just a dream come true to play for Montreal. It really was. That's the one thing that comes to mind when people ask me about playing there. I grew up watching them play, I went to the Montreal Forum. It was just a state of shock when I got traded there," recalled Mitchell, who was acquired in March 2015. "I had my wife and two kids at the time. It was pretty exciting to share that with them. I might not have appreciated it as much as I did if I played there in my early 20s. But to be there near the end of my career was really fun."
Video: VAN@MTL: Mitchell buries Danault's feed
As for his favorite Canadiens memory, it occurred on April 15, 2015.
"I'd say scoring a playoff goal at home. That's got to be up there for me. I had a couple of friends that grew up down the street from me in the building. They were behind the net when I scored against Ottawa," said Mitchell. "I enjoyed all the text messages from family and friends who were so supportive. I remember just how happy people were for me to have a chance to play for Montreal."
Admittedly, Mitchell still watches his former club when time permits. He's behind them every step of the way.
"They look good. They're hard to play against when they're playing well," concluded Mitchell. "I traveled around the League, but Montreal was my team because of my childhood. I cheer for Montreal."
To learn more about ELEV802, click here.