Ice skating with your kid can be a dangerous pastime. Just ask Janet Hutton, who suffered a concussion at the hands of her five-year-old son, Ben, while he was trying to show off for his mom.
Ben Hutton, who is in his first season with the LA Kings, grew up in Prescott, Ontario, where the local rink had public skating on Mondays, the same day of the week Janet Hutton had off from work. Janet took Ben skating every Monday.
"My dad would put me pretty much in every sport: soccer, hockey, baseball, anything possible. My mom is the one that got me to skate," recalls the 26-year-old Hutton.
"She said I was a bit of a hassle at the start. I wasn't a very good skater, and I guess there were a couple times when I came off the ice and I had a little bit of a hissy fit, but she kept bringing me back, and finally I got it."
The concussion came one Monday when young Ben fell into Mom and she smacked the back of her head on the ice as a result.
"It wasn't a bright moment for me, but I was trying to show off that I was a fast skater. I was a fast skater just not a good stopper I guess," concedes Hutton sheepishly.
Hutton is quick to credit both his parents and their parenting for their positively impactful role in his upbringing.
"My parents have led the charge for inspiring me and always wanting 100 percent or giving 100 percent. I feel like I have a pretty positive mindset because of my parents," Hutton reveals.
"They're both very positive people, even when times are tough in hockey or in any situation they always look at the positive side of things and the bright side in someone or a situation, so I feel like they've really inspired me and made me the man I am today."
Janet and Jim Hutton, who still reside in Prescott, kept their kids active in sports - Ben's older sister Maggie was a high jumper - but encouraged Ben to pursue education as well. While Ben was playing junior hockey in Ottawa he was trying to decide whether to play in the OHL or the NCAA, where there were multiple schools reaching out to him.
"My dad always said 'don't be worried about going to NCAA or Major/Junior, if you're good enough they'll find you,'" Hutton shares.
Find him they did. Hutton was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the fifth round, 147th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted Hutton still went on to play for the Maine Black Bears, where he was able to work towards a Business Management degree.
During his second year he was named to the 2013-14 All-Hockey East first team. He played three seasons there before deciding to join the Canucks during the 2015-16 season.
After four seasons with Vancouver, Hutton signed a one-year contract with the Kings on September 17, 2019, and is enjoying his season in sunny California.
While he came late to camp and missed the unofficial roommate selection, he does live a couple blocks off the strand and next door to teammates Alex Iafallo and Kurtis MacDermid.
"Being two blocks off the beach and the strand, you can grab breakfast or lunch or whatever, and just be outside and enjoying the weather. The last few weekends with the holidays it's been packed down there so it's been so fun to honestly just go for a cruise down there," says the Hermosa Beach resident.
While hockey season weather is favorable in LA as compared to Prescott, Hutton does return home during the summer, where he particularly loves golfing and boating, but can also be found playing beach volleyball, basketball, spike ball, and pretty much any other sport. He is currently trying to grasp the idea that beach volleyball can be played during the winter in his current environment.
The self-proclaimed 'happy-go-lucky' Hutton is, at present, into the Netflix series 'You," which he enjoys discussing with his teammates who are also watching the series. He doesn't like horror movies or heavy metal music, but loves Post Malone and, on certain days, country music; he admits the best concert he's attended is a toss-up between Post Malone and Eric Church.
Hutton is a huge Will Ferrell fan and is optimistic about meeting the actor, perhaps one night after a game at STAPLES Center. He is also an avid video gamer and is apparently the best Call of Duty player on the Kings roster - also self-proclaimed.
Coming to Los Angeles from Vancouver, Hutton knew none of his new teammates previously, but loves that within the Kings organization there are no cliques.
"When you play hockey, you're on a team or I guess you can even call it a family of 23 guys. It makes it easy when everyone gets along with everyone," says Hutton, who has seven points in 49 games so far this season.
"That's something that hockey has brought to me in my life. Getting along with everyone, whether it's your teammates or even when you're out with the fans, it's easy to stop and take a photo with someone for two seconds."
Growing up, despite living in Ontario, Hutton followed the Colorado Avalanche and was a fan of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy. He's followed the post-playing career of Sakic, the current general manager of the Avalanche, and is still inspired by his work.
"He's doing a great job with that team - they're young and they have a bright future for sure," comments Hutton, who wouldn't mind following a similar path when his playing days are over. "You're still around the job and with hockey - building a team to try to win the Stanley Cup, that'd be pretty fun."
That path though, is a long way off for Hutton, not even five full seasons into his NHL career.
In the short term, he is looking forward to contributing what he can to the Kings season, after which he is excited about planning a long-awaited vacation in Europe this summer.
In the long term, he has his sights set on finishing his Business Management degree. While he attempted to chip away at it during his first few NHL seasons, he has yet to complete it - but it is on the 'to do' list, as he promised his mom he would.
After her concussion, it's only fair.