Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Men are what their mothers made them.”
If this is true, Sherri Stoll has a lot to be proud of.
Her son, LA Kings center, Jarret Stoll, is already a Stanley Cup Champion and finds himself in the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in his career.
One of the NHL’s most elite faceoff specialists, Jarret is among the top three players in faceoffs taken in the 2014 playoffs, and leads that group with a win percentage of 56.8 percent to date.
“We’re proud of him,” Sherri boasts. “He’s a great penalty killer and a huge faceoff man and we know Jarret is very proud of that and he takes great pride in that, so it makes us very happy.”
Sherri and her husband, Tim, live on a waterfront property in Katepwa Lake, Saskatchewan, about an hour away from Neudorf, where Jarret grew up. Aside from Jarret, who is the middle child, Sherri and Tim have an older son, Kelly, and a daughter, Ashley, who both live with their families in the Yorkton, Saskatchewan area.
All three Stoll kids grew up playing hockey. Kelly played for the Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, and Ashley played college hockey at the University of Saskatchewan.
“We lived in a small town, so that’s all you did,” recalls Sherri. “Going to the rink was our entertainment, and we’d go there every day of the week. Us moms would sit in the waiting room and all the little siblings would be running around in the waiting room while the kids were skating or shooting the puck around.”
Jarret first started skating at age three and began playing organized hockey by age five. The family first suspected Jarret might have a future in the NHL when he was drafted first overall in the 1997 WHL Bantam Draft, then captained the Kootenay Ice to a Memorial Cup in 2002.
As a kid, Jarret didn’t have one favorite NHL team, but followed the nomadic NHL career of a family friend whom he would cheer for however he could. Although Jarret was a fan of the Edmonton Oilers in the Gretzky era, the family would often attend the home games of the Winnipeg Jets.
Jarret began his career with the Oilers, which made traveling to games easy for Sherri and the rest of the family, as they frequently made the eight-hour drive for home games. When Edmonton was in the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, they were at every game.
Initially, the trade that brought Jarret to Los Angeles during the Summer of 2008 was met with disappointment by Sherri, as California was a much farther distance to travel, but the disappointment didn’t last long.
“Once we got to LA and saw where he lives and where he plays, we wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Sherri admits. “It’s an absolute beautiful place and I just hope he stays there forever.”
During the regular season Sherri and Tim visit LA an average of three times, usually for the home-opener, the annual Dad’s Trip, and once again in January. They then return for the post-season. Some of Sherri’s favorite things to enjoy in SoCal are the beach, the shopping, and the dining.
“We make sure we stay out of Jarret’s way on a game day or whatever, but he’s gracious enough to let us stay at his place and we thank him for that. We just love it there and can’t wait to go back,” says Sherri, who was in LA during the Anaheim series, and has plans to return for Game 5 of the Final.
While watching playoff games from home, Sherri and Tim are just as nervous as any other fans, and game days swallow up any ability to focus on other tasks. The morning of Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, Sherri, admittedly not a morning person, was up at 5:30 A.M. and already had two loads of laundry done just two hours later.
The comfort of their own home is the designated game watch spot for Sherri and Tim, as they prefer to be where it’s quiet and they can listen to the commentary without interruption. Running to the bathroom every 10 minutes is a part of Sherri’s game watch routine that she isn’t embarrassed to divulge.
“All three series were just so close and so nerve-wracking – totally different than the last time around,” Sherri says, referring to the Kings Cup run in 2012 when they opened each series with a 3-0 lead.
During the second period of Game 7 against the Blackhawks, Sherri and Tim had a scare when they saw Jarret take a hit, then walk down the tunnel to the locker room. Tim had suggested that perhaps some equipment repair was needed, but when commentators pointed out that Jarret had been missing from the bench for an extended period of time, it didn’t ease their minds. Luckily, Jarret returned for the start of the third period.
After the Kings beat Chicago in overtime to win the Western Conference Championship, Sherri sent Jarret a text, as she does after every game.
“He text back and he said ‘thanks, Mom, I’m so happy right now.’ That was a great text,” says Sherri, who keeps in regular contact with her son.
While the Kings weren’t one of the teams Jarret followed as a kid, the entire Stoll family lives and breathes all things Kings now.
“I’m very proud of the Kings and they’re a great team and they’re a great bunch of teammates and I know they’re Jarret’s best friends and I just hope they do well and bring the Cup home again,” Sherri expresses.
The Kings are still in need of three wins before that can happen, which may mean many more anxious trips to the bathroom for Sherri.
On the bright side, all the laundry will be done.
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