GLENDALE – Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer plans to be very busy during the upcoming break for the Winter Olympics.
Klinkhammer and his fiancée, Jessica, are set to be married on Saturday, Feb. 15, in Scottsdale.
About 85 people are expected at the ceremony and one of them may surprise you: Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg will serve as Klinkhammer’s best man.
“We’re both from Lethbridge (Alberta), and we grew up playing hockey together and against each other,” said Klinkhammer, who already has established single-season career-highs this season in games played (51), goals (nine), assists (eight) and points (17). “When we were kids it seemed like every year we were on the same team or playing against each other in Lethbridge. Then we played junior hockey together and then I kind of followed him around as a pro, and we’re playing against each other again on Friday night.”
The Coyotes host Chicago on Friday in Phoenix’s last home game before the break for the Olympics.
On Thursday, Klinkhammer and Versteeg planned to have dinner together to touch base about next week’s wedding.
“I need to review what he’s planning to say for the Best Man toast and see if it’s appropriate,” Klinkhammer said with a smile. “We’ll see. He’s quite the character and he loves having a microphone in his hand. He also loves doing karaoke at weddings so a lot will be expected of him. It should be fun. When he has the mic in his hand you never know what’s going to happen.”
Klinkhammer and his fiancée have been dating since they were in high school.
“Getting married has been the plan for about 12 years, so it’s about time,” he said.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett and Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville were long-time teammates during their NHL playing careers with the Hartford Whalers (for seven years) and later with the Washington Capitals (for one year).
The friends have faced each other 40 times as NHL head coaches. Tippett is 22-15-3 in his coaching career against Quenneville.
Coyotes center Antoine Vermette will enter Friday’s game with a career-high eight-game point streak and a team-high 21 goals.
Vermette scored his 20th goal in his 54th game this season, which was the fastest he has scored 20 goals in a season in his NHL career.
His career-high for goals in a season are 27 scored in 2009-10 for Columbus.
The Blackhawks will play Friday’s game minus leading scorer Patrick Kane, who has left the team to attend the funeral of his paternal grandfather.
Kane ranks fourth in the NHL with 63 points.