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Meet Christian

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

There is a new face patrolling the LA Kings’ blue line this season, and a new country’s flag represented on the Kings roster.

Christian Ehrhoff was born and raised in Moers, a German city with the population of 100,000. He began playing hockey at the age of six, but as there was no hockey team in his city, his parents took him 20 minutes away to Krefeld where he played for over 10 years.

Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Ehrhoff made his NHL debut on October 9, 2003. After playing for the Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, and Pittsburgh Penguins, it was announced that Ehrhoff signed a one-year deal with the Kings on August 23.

Known as a swift-skating offensive defenseman, Ehrhoff was only familiar with two of his current teammates – Brayden McNabb and Jhonas Enroth, from their days in Buffalo – prior to joining the team.

Having heard good things about his new teammates, Ehrhoff admits “they come as advertised.”

“It’s a great group of guys and they welcomed me from the first day,” says the blonde-haired, blue-eyed 33 year-old. “I heard only good things before, that it’s a tight group, and that’s what I found out myself.”

Ehrhoff fits right in as he’s already found himself a carpool buddy in fellow European teammate, Anze Kopitar. The two take turns driving each other to STAPLES Center on game nights, and when Kopitar is behind the wheel, the music choice is Country, but when it’s Ehrhoff’s turn, EDM provides the ride’s sound. The carpool chatter ranges from hockey, to European soccer, to politics.

Kopitar, who has one seven-month-old daughter, could probably also gain some good parenting tips from Ehrhoff, who has three girls of his own.

Ehrhoff met his wife, Farina, when he was 20, and after eight years of marriage, the couple has three daughters: Leni (6), Milla (4), and Olivia (11 months). The family spends their summers in Krefeld, where Farina is from. The girls are old enough to watch Dad play hockey, which they enjoy.

“I think their favorite part is, after wins, coming to the dressing room, so they get really upset when we lose,” Ehrhoff says with a laugh. “They wear their little jerseys and it makes me really proud seeing them cheer me on.”

Family constitutes most of Ehrhoff’s time away from hockey, but it doesn’t necessarily take him away from the rink. Both Leni and Milla are learning to skate in classes at Toyota Sports Center, the Kings practice facility in El Segundo. Although both girls love ice skating, they aren’t exactly following in Dad’s footsteps.

“My middle daughter says she wants to do figure skating because she can wear her dresses,” says Ehrhoff, again with a chuckle.

For Ehrhoff’s daughters, the excitement over dresses isn’t confined to the ice rink.

“At my house it’s all about princess dresses, and my daughters are big Disney fans,” says Ehrhoff, who took his family to Disneyland a few weeks ago.

The Ehrhoffs have also been to Disney World twice, and always meet the princesses on their Disney trips. Even Dad can identify his favorite princess.

“I probably have to go with Elsa, just because she has ice powers, which is kind of good for us,” Ehrhoff says, matter-of-factly referring to one of the sisters from the movie ‘Frozen.’

Aside from Princess Mania, Ehrhoff enjoys taking his family to the sun and sand, which is now convenient since they live in Manhattan Beach.

“It’s really nice, it’s a great place to live, everything is really close from the practice arena to where I live. The only far drive I have, when I hit traffic, is on game days,” says Ehrhoff, who had never been to the South Bay prior to joining the Kings.

Having been to LA while visiting with other teams, Ehrhoff is familiar with West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and downtown, but is still looking forward to experiencing Malibu, Venice, and even Legoland. One of his favorite things about LA so far is the widespread presence of the market Whole Foods.

True Food Kitchen is also a favorite spot of Ehrhoff’s, although he doesn’t eat out much due to the fact that Farina is a master in the kitchen and is able to cook a wide variety of foods.

“My wife cooks all the time, so we don’t go out to eat that much,” says Ehrhoff, who doesn’t do any cooking. “It doesn’t get boring on our table.”

On the off chance they take a night out sans kids, Ehrhoff and his wife enjoy going to the movies. He is a big fan of the James Bond films, and is looking forward to the release of the next one, so much so that he would consider braving the crowds on opening day. Although his favorite Bond film is ‘Casino Royale,’ his favorite movie of all time is ‘Wedding Crashers.’

“Every time you watch it there’s something new to find,” says Ehrhoff, whose favorite scene is the one where Will Ferrell’s character is at his mom’s house demanding meatloaf.

Ehrhoff is also a fan of Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Hunger Games’, although he admits to not having read the books, and his favorite actor is Denzel Washington because “he’s great in different kinds of movies.”

David Guetta is one of Ehrhoff’s favorite music artists – as Kopitar can probably attest to – as is Rihanna, both of whom Ehrhoff has had the chance to see live.

A typical game day for Ehrhoff actually combines most of his favorite things. It starts out with him taking Leni to school around 8 a.m., before coming to the practice rink, having breakfast and a little warm-up, followed by meetings and the morning skate. After the skate he takes a dip in the cold tub, then has to pick up Milla from pre-school. He comes home for lunch – Farina makes something different every day – plays with his kids for a bit, then takes a nap anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes long. When he wakes up, he has a snack, and has a little more time to spend with the kids before heading to the arena with Kopitar.

With any luck, by the end of the night, he finds his girls in the dressing room wearing his jersey, with happy, princess smiles.

Follow on Twitter: @by_DeborahLew & @LAKingsPR

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