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Catching Up With...

Catching up with Sean O'Donnell

Defenseman enjoying role in Kings player development after 17 NHL seasons

by Kaitlyn Kaminski @Kait_Kaminski / Staff Writer

Not long after Sean O'Donnell retired following 17 NHL seasons, the defenseman returned to one of his former teams, the Los Angeles Kings, for a part-time role in player development.

It's been a good fit for O'Donnell, who played eight seasons for Los Angeles and was a teammate of defenseman Rob Blake, the Kings general manager, from 1994-2000.

"I'm friends with [Blake] and some other members of the staff -- Glen Murray, Nelson Emerson, Mike O'Connell and Mike Donnelly -- so I am very, very content where I am at right now," said O'Donnell, who also works as an analyst on Kings games for FOX Sports West. "I like being a part of that organization."

O'Donnell retired in 2013 at age 41. He was the first captain of the Minnesota Wild and won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He had 229 points (31 goals, 198 assists) in 1,224 NHL games for the Kings, Wild, Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils.

"I always joke, I think 30 [general managers] were ready for me to retire," O'Donnell said. "After the lockout, hockey started back up again in January 2013, and I kind of knew that I was done after my year in Chicago, but you wait until they all say no. You don't just officially retire.

"Once camp was open and nobody contacted me, I said, 'Well, it was a good run,' and I decided to hang them up. Two-and-a-half months later, my daughter was born, so it actually really, really helped my transition ... I think because I didn't really have time to miss the games because, as most parents know, a newborn demands a lot of attention."

Though O'Donnell is busy as a father, he is constantly involved in hockey, even in the offseason.

"It really is a 12-month sport," O'Donnell said. "You have development camps, and in the summertime, there's the [NHL Draft]. Obviously, June, July and August aren't as busy as the regular season, but you always find something to do. There is some down time to get away and go on vacations and spend time with family.

"It's funny, you look back and you think, 'OK, I have the month of August coming up, or the month of July, and I am going to do all of these fun things,' and the next thing you know, the month is gone," he said. "It seems like time just gets filled up somehow."

That said, O'Donnell has not ruled out other avenues of hockey to explore in the future.

"You know, you never know what can happen in the future," O'Donnell said. "I do like the hockey [operations] side, it's definitely very intriguing … it's a lot of fun kind of being on that part of it and figuring it out. Coaching was something that always kind of interested me, but it's just a whole different animal being a coach."

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