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Willie Mitchell's Five Things

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are headed in to San Jose for their second to last game of the season and according to Willie Mitchell, it's still not a place the team is very familiar with.

"It's usually game day and that's it," Willie says. "You get in the night before, a quick meal there and the next day you're gone so we never get a lot of time in San Jose."

However, Willie does have some favourite things to do while in the central California city. And while the Canucks are always hungry for a win when taking on the Sharks, chances are Willie Mitchell will be hungrier.

Enjoying a good burger, not to mention a big breakfast, counts among Willie's five favourite things.


"The best part about being in San Jose? It sometimes gives me a chance to go to one of my favourite cities" joked the big defenseman.

Yes, San Francisco is just 45 minutes away.

"I just like being down at the pier, stuff like that," he says. "I also liked visiting Alcatraz and seeing some of the history behind it."

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco harbour was once a prison and home to notorious mobster Al Capone.

And of course there's the cinematic classic, Escape From Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood as the legendary inmate Frank Morris.


"A Double Double at Johnny Rockets always does well," Willie says. You've got to respect Johnny Rockets; it's a good burger joint. It's right behind the hotel we stay at."

The restaurant is a replica 50s-style diner, complete with jukeboxes, chrome and red leather seats.

The menu? The usual malt-shop fare: hamburgers, shakes, malts and sandwiches. They have yet to open one in Port McNeill despite the obvious appeal to the fisherman crowd. It'll have to be Tim Horton's for the foreseeable future.


Also high on Willie's list is breakfast at the hotel where the Canucks stay.

"They make a very good breakfast," Willie says. "I'm an egg whites guy in the morning, they're always nice and fluffy... they've got good toast, not too firm, not too soft."

A solid breakfast is key when you're burning as many calories as an NHL defenseman who logs more than 22 minutes a night against the opposition's top line.

Eggs are a good start, though a few yolks probably wouldn't hurt. Maybe it's the yellow.


Next on Willie's list is playing the actual game against the Sharks. "The Tank" has long been storied as one of the most raucous barns in the league.

"Playing the game in San Jose, I really like the atmosphere," he says. "Their fans for a are very vocal, they get into the game. Not to mention, they're a good opponent so it's a tough game."

The Sharks' name is derived from the fact that there are a large number of sharks living in the nearby Pacific Ocean. There are seven different varieties in the waters near the Bay Area... one area is even named the "red triangle" because of its shark population.

So that NHL video where Jonathan Cheechoo paddles out to the surfers to remind them that it's hockey season? Probably not.


The trip out of the San Jose is also big on Willie's list. It's not that he doesn't like it there, he just doesn't spend a whole lot of time in the city and isn't quite as familiar with it as say... Vancouver Island.

"I don't know my way around San Jose that well...I don't know where to go. I'm not that comfortable down there."

Whenever he leaves, Willie will leave quietly, however. San Jose International Airport was one of the first airports to participate in a US Congress experiment to see if houses surrounding the airport could be insulated to help reduce plane noise.

The experiment worked, and homes in the area are no longer bothered by the noise of planes landing or taking off.

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