James van Riemsdyk

The little moments and a long drive make early fatherhood special for James van Riemsdyk

The little moments and a long drive make early fatherhood special for James van Riemsdyk

James van Riemsdyk found an adorable alternative to the Stanley Cup Playoffs during these unprecedented times.

The little moments with his newborn daughter Scarlett Everly, little moments that mean so much to first-time parents.

With the 2019-20 NHL season on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, van Riemsdyk has enjoyed the opportunity alongside his wife Lauren to soak in everything about their baby girl who was born May 2.

“It has been incredible," van Riemsdyk said Wednesday on a conference call. "The silver lining out of all of this stuff is just the extra time I’ve been able to spend at home and be there for all the little moments and just worry about being a dad first and foremost. That has been unbelievable. Everyone who has kids knows, it’s a life-changing moment and something that’s hard to even describe until you see her and meet her for the first time. That has been awesome."

For van Riemsdyk's parents Frans and Allison, they had a long drive for the little moments — completely worth it, though, to hold their first grandchild. The Flyers' winger, who also celebrated his 31st birthday May 4, grew up in Middletown, New Jersey. His parents made the lengthy trip from the Garden State to Minnesota, where van Riemsdyk is currently living with his in-laws. Within a couple of weeks, van Riemsdyk and his wife will be moving into their own home in Minnesota.

With the arrival of van Riemsdyk's parents, it has been one big family.

“They drove through the night, I think it took them like 19 hours, just a straight shot through pretty much, just stops for gas," van Riemsdyk said. "Then we put them up in Airbnb for a bit to quarantine and then had them able to meet the baby. It has been awesome to be able to share this with them — it has been nice to have everyone here.”

Van Riemsdyk said his wife and the baby are doing great. They've appreciated this moment being truly a family affair.

"We’re staying at her parents, so they’ve been a big help, which has been awesome," van Riemsdyk said.

Any advice from teammates on early fatherhood?

“They just said get as much sleep as you can when the baby’s sleeping, so that’s been the best tip I’ve gotten so far," he said. "It’s been nice, we’ve got a bunch of extra sets of hands around with her parents and my parents, so I’m able to sneak off and get a nap probably more frequently than I would have otherwise.”

And be ready to enjoy all the little moments.

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James van Riemsdyk virtually meets military family and big-time hockey fans

James van Riemsdyk virtually meets military family and big-time hockey fans

For many, being stuck at home while social distancing has been quite a transition, but there’s one family that is making the most of every moment. 

Tom Luft, a U.S. Navy pilot who has served for 18 years, wanted to do something special for his two kids. Through the United Heroes League, he submitted a nomination to the organization’s “Talk With a Pro,” initiative  in hopes to receive a video chat with their favorite ambassador. 

United Heroes League actively works to ensure that children of military service members can afford every opportunity to participate in sports. We have provided over $12 million worth of free sports equipment, game tickets, cash grants, sports camps and special experiences to military families across the United States and Canada. 

United Heroes League wants to ensure that all 5 million military kids are able to develop critical life skills through sports. The intense focus on youth development and serving the families of our military service members motivates us to keep programs focused. This focus has also inspired over 115 professional athletes and over 30 professional sports franchises to lend their name and support to United Heroes League. 

-From the United Heroes League mission statement 

Luckily, the Lufts — a military family that resides in Media, PA., were granted the opportunity to participate and able to live out their hockey dreams by having a one-on-one with Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk. 

Everett and Avery, the two sons in the family were able to ask the ambassador a wide range of questions, including who is his favorite teammate, what is his favorite sport aside from hockey and what's his go-to emoji of choice. He also goes into detail about some other very important topics, like how he likes his pizza and the best burger chain restaurant he's been to. 

Van Riemsdyk has been an ambassador for the organization since 2015, something that carried over from his time playing in Toronto. 

You can go here to learn more about the United Heroes League or make a donation to help assist military families of all branches. 

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Chances for 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs? James van Riemsdyk says 'bunch of different formats' on table

Chances for 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs? James van Riemsdyk says 'bunch of different formats' on table

Wednesday marked the 70th day of the 2019-20 NHL stoppage.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league's return to play committee has discussed a variety of different avenues for a potential resumption of play to award the Stanley Cup.

While everyone hopes for eventual progress toward a return to action, right now, discussions are only discussions. That goes for the 24-team tournament idea that has recently come to the forefront of chatter within the hockey world.

James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers' NHLPA representative, mentioned how a number of scenarios are on the table.

There are a bunch of different formats being talked about," van Riemsdyk said Wednesday on a conference call. "It’s hard to really say what the leader is just because things can change, nothing is really certain until it’s certain, things can change so quickly. Different things that probably were looked at earlier on probably aren’t feasible now.

"There are different things that can change, so it’s hard to say there’s a real leader but we’re trying to keep as many options open and navigate through different things and hopefully come up with a decision that … first and foremost is the health and safety of everyone and from there it’s to try to find something that keeps that integrity and competitiveness that is so great about our game and is so great about the Stanley Cup.

As all NHL teams remain apart in the self-isolation phase, a big topic among the NHL and NHLPA is the length of time players will have to quarantine from their families when/if the league gets back into action. That's not to mention the other obstacle of where the games will be held. The NHL and NHLPA are cognizant of those important issues.

"No one wants to be away from their families for months on end," van Riemsdyk, whose wife Lauren recently gave birth to their first child, said. "Everyone is aware of that who is on this committee. I don’t think we’d be asked to do something like that, I think it’d be much more manageable, sort of set up in situation. What that is is still trying to sort through some of that, but no one is asking us to be without seeing our family for too long of a stretch.”

The league has the entire summer ahead but time is ticking as the calendar nears June, which is when the Stanley Cup is typically awarded and the month in which the NHL entry draft is normally held. The NHL will soon have decisions to make on the date of the currently-postponed draft, which could give us a sense of what's next to come in the league's hope to finish 2019-20. Van Riemsdyk said he doesn't think the NHL is near any type of deadline date as the league is looking to be flexible with the time left.

Prior to the pause, the Flyers had won nine of their last 10 games and were 19-6-1 since Jan. 8, a stretch in which they were tied with the Bruins for the NHL's most points at 39. At 41-21-7, the Flyers are in second place of the Metropolitan Division and have the league's sixth-most points with 89, so they should be in a relatively favorable position for any type of resumption.

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