There wasn’t a moment of hesitation when Willie Mitchell was asked what he would name as the best album of all-time... well sort of.
“Any U2 one – all of them, I like them all.”
So he didn’t name a specific album but at least he narrowed it down to just the 31 that the band’s produced over the years (out of an endless number of albums that do exist).
Hearing “Where the Streets Have No Name” is something familiar to him when he steps onto the ice at GM Place but something he is still yet to hear live in person.
“I had tickets but I ended up having to play a preseason game when I was with Minnesota. The concert was at the Xcel Energy Center and I had four tickets for me and my wife and my buddy and his wife. We both weren’t playing that night in the exhibition game that was actually in Grand Forks, North Dakota and the team was going there so we thought we were staying behind. But they made all the players on the team go and watch the game so I missed out on the concert.”
MSG? Wembley Stadium? The Sydney Opera House? Of the great concert venues available, any would be great for a band like U2 but which one would be the ideal location for Mitchell to finally see them?
“I think that they’re such a good band that a small venue would be good if you could find a really good small venue. It would be nice up close and personal but then again seeing them in an outdoor environment with hundreds of thousands of people would be incredible too.”
It’s a well-known fact that poker is a popular past-time for Canucks hockey players and Mitchell could find himself on the winning end of the table. This year, he’s trying something different on the plane – maybe to let his teammates win back some of their losses or perhaps he’s found a better way to use his earnings.
“I don’t [play poker] anymore, I’m out. I’m getting a lot of grief this year. All the guys see me back there reading my finance books and I only sit one seat behind them.”
“I felt like I was wasting all my life on the airplane playing cards and I thought I could read a little bit more and gain some knowledge. I felt bad last year I played cards and I watched Trev all the time read books. It kind of bugged me a little bit that I wasn’t doing that.”
The last book Mitchell picked up is by Chief Investment Officer of Yale University, “Unconventional Success”. The book is basically a guide for the individual investor.
This is the one of many books he’s currently carrying with him on the plane but what you won’t see on his bookshelf are fiction books.
“No, I don’t read fiction at all – usually biographies. I’ve got this finance kick I’m on right now. In all my spare time outside of hockey is spent with my wife or trying to pick up a finance book. I’m just really addicted to it right now - trying to learn.”
Naturally, his most recent visit on the web was to check up on his hobby and latest “addiction” at Stockhouse.
His interest in the stock market didn’t come out of nowhere but dates back to his days as a Clarkson Knight.
“I’ve always had an interest in numbers and I got into it when I was a business major in college and I got into it. I was really fortunate to meet a brilliant person who runs a $10 billion hedge fund down in Dallas.”
“He sends me books all the time to continue to learn and read up on it all. He got me into it and I just enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge of it and the little bit of adrenaline rush to it.”
Mitchell’s already high up on the fan favourites list as a hockey player but at the rate he’s reading, he could be making his way up on the Forbes’ list as well.
Even amongst the seriousness of all the money talk and financial lessons that occupy his time, there is some down time, where even Mitchell indulges in a little Hollywood glamour of Dancing with the Stars.
“That’s kind of the only show I watch because my wife PVRs it and makes me watch it with her.”
In this show’s six seasons, 12 athletes participated and of those, four walked away winners and two as the runner-up. Football player, Emmitt Smith, Olympic speed skater, Apollo Anton Ohno, Nascar driver, Helio Castroneves, and most recently, figure skater, Kristi Yamaguchi, all won the competition.
This year, three more athletes take a turn in the spotlight but what’s missing? No hockey player has stepped foot onto the dance floor – yet.
While Mitchell admits he’s not the best dancer and doesn’t anticipate that he’ll trade in skates for dancing shoes, if he competed in the show, where’d he finish?
“I’m a pretty competitive guy so I think I’d maybe finish in the middle of the pack but I don’t see many hockey players being light on their feet. Football players are little lighter on their feet than hockey players - those running backs have to be pretty agile.”