On November 23, 2017, Torrey Mitchell returned for his second tour of duty on the California hockey scene - this time with an old rival team, the LA Kings.
Mitchell was drafted in the fourth round, 126th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. He played in the Sharks organization between 2007 and 2012, which made him part of the team that eliminated the Kings in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After arriving in Los Angeles via a trade, which sent a conditional fifth-round pick to the Kings, Mitchell was honest about his feelings at the time of the trade.
Video: LAK@WPG: Mitchell slides loose puck past Hellebuyck
"It was pretty awkward," the 33-year-old admitted about playing on the other side of the rivalry. "It's part of the business, I guess. I've been traded before so, I'm over it now, but it was a little weird the first game."
Having only played with Darcy Kuemper prior to joining the Kings, Mitchell was happy with the assimilation.
"Everyone was super good with me the first couple of weeks and it's a great group of guys," Mitchell said. "Pretty much every NHL locker room has a good group of guys to be honest with you, but these guys have won before, so it's pretty unique and it's pretty special to be a part of this group."
Speculating on why hockey teams have such strong connections, Mitchell is quick to credit family and childhood.
"I think it's the way we're brought up. I think a lot of guys are from pretty humble backgrounds, as far as their upbringing and their families," Mitchell explained. "We just had our fathers' trip and all the dads are there supporting their kids, so we're pretty unique in that sense in our sport."
Referring to the recent Kings' fathers' trip that is taken every other season, Mitchell actually brought his father-in-law on the trip, saying that his own dad has been on half a dozen of those trips and he wanted to give his father-in-law the unique experience.
"He was pretty blown away by all the red-carpet treatment," says Mitchell. He says the best part was seeing his father-in-law's facial expression upon walking onto the Kings' private charter plane.
Mitchell's own father, Steve, was a big reason his sons began playing hockey. After playing hockey at a Canadian University, Steve built a backyard rink for his sons at their home in Greenfield Park, Quebec, where the family is from.
"It was always a big part of my family," Mitchell remembers. He began playing at the age of three with his older brother, Josh. "I was always chasing him around, and at some point I passed him."
Now, after dreaming of making it to the NHL as a kid in Montreal, Mitchell is fully enjoying his career.
Video: LAK@CAR: Mitchell roofs redirect on Clifford's shot
But, like many others, he had to overcome obstacles to maintain that career. Back in 2008, during a team practice with the Sharks, Mitchell broke his leg, which forced him to miss 120 games.
"I didn't know if I was ever going to play again, so that was a big hurdle to get over, but it made me better," states Mitchell, who took his recovery one day at a time. "[You have to] trust the people who are rehabbing and working with you, and that's what I did, and I had a pretty good career after that."
Throughout his career, Mitchell has learned a lot from the sport of hockey, namely discipline.
"You have to be disciplined, you have to be on time, you have to be sharp, you have to be prepared, so that probably helps in life," says Mitchell, who, as a kid, idolized Joe Sakic.
Not only has Mitchell had a successful career, but his family is growing as well. Torrey and his wife, Brindy, will welcome their third child later this year, a girl. She will already have two big sisters in four-year-old Kate and two-year-old Emma. The girls joined dad in Los Angeles the first week of January and are loving the area so far.
"I used to golf a lot, but now I'm having my third child in May, so [my free time is spent] hanging out with the kids," says Mitchell. His only male companion in the house is Parker, the family's English Bulldog.
Both Brindy and Torrey would tell you that Torrey is a bit of a softie when it comes to parenting. Brindy does all the disciplining of the kids, and Torrey says "it's hard for me to say 'no.'"
When aboard the Kings' charters, Mitchell passes the time by watching television shows. His favorites include 'Vikings,' 'Westworld,' 'Ozark,' and his all-time favorite, 'Billions.' Mitchell's number one go-to movie is 'Braveheart,' and he's a big fan of actors Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.
When it comes to music, Mitchell isn't picky, and enjoys anything he can bop his head to. Although it's been a while, the last concert he attended was George Strait's Farewell Tour.
Jason Demers, who is currently playing for the Arizona Coyotes, is Mitchell's best friend in hockey. The two are both from the Montreal area, but didn't meet until they played together in the Sharks' organization.
Mitchell laughs when he thinks about what he'd be doing right now if he weren't playing hockey. After majoring in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont, business and entrepreneurship seem like a probable choice.
"Maybe I'd own a Starbucks or something right now," Mitchell says with a chuckle.
There will be plenty of time for that when his playing days are over.