Long flights worth it;Game, baby’s birth a continent apart; Hainsey made both.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Two thousand miles couldn’t keep Ron Hainsey
from the birth of his child.

Another two thousand miles couldn’t keep him from a hockey
game.

The
Thrashers’ defenseman flew from Los
Angeles to Atlanta — and back — in a span of 33 1/2 hours.

He arrived in Atlanta in time for his daughter to be born
Thursday.

He arrived in Anaheim for the
Thrashers’ game against the Ducks on
Friday.

“I was always going to try to do it all,” Hainsey said Friday
after the
Thrashers’ 5-4 victory. The birth
“wasn’t supposed to be this week, obviously. . . . It worked out
where I could get back. I was there for all of it and for quite a
few hours after. I was able to get back.”

Alexa Marie, a 6-pound, 6-ounce baby girl, was born to Hainsey
and his wife, Hayley, but not before an early morning phone call
and some hastily made travel arrangements. With the
Thrashers on a six-day, three-game
West Coast road trip, Hainsey’s phone rang at 2:30 a.m. while the
team was in Los Angeles.

He booked and caught a 7 a.m. flight to Atlanta and was at the
hospital by 4 p.m., just as Hayley’s mother arrived. Her father
already was staying with the couple in case of such an emergency.
Alexa Marie, their first child, was born around 11:30 p.m., and
Hainsey stayed at the hospital until 3 a.m.

A brief stop at home, another plane reservation and he was back
in the air at 7 a.m. Upon arriving in California, Hainsey caught up
with the team at 4:30 p.m. Hours later he was playing an NHL game.
He missed only a bus trip from Los Angeles to Anaheim and two
practices. All along he was in contact with general manager Rick
Dudley and coach Craig Ramsay.

Do you get extra frequent-flier miles for logging the 4,354
miles in less than two days?

Hainsey said he slept on the plane with the help of a neck
pillow and fared just fine in the game.

“I’ve felt worse before,” Hainsey said after playing 14:32 in 22
shifts. “I was pretty wired” Friday.

Hainsey deflected the notion that it would have been acceptable
not to rush back. Knowing that defenseman Zach Bogosian was
battling a shoulder injury, he wanted to rejoin the team as
planned.

“He was intent on getting back and trying to play,” Ramsay said.
“He showed a lot of courage.”

Ramsay also knew that the impending birth was weighing on his
defenseman’s mind through the early-season schedule.

“You are a hockey player, you just go play, but there is no
question that having that in the back of your mind you are
concerned with your wife and expected child,” Ramsay said.

“There is no question. I’ve been through four of them myself.
It’s awkward and it does occupy your thoughts.”

With Hayley’s parents on duty, Hainsey traveled with the team to
San Jose for Saturday’s game against the Sharks. The team is
scheduled to return to Atlanta today. The
Thrashers don’t play until a home
game against Buffalo on Wednesday.

“She is in good hands for the next 48 hours or so,” Hainsey
said. “It was quite the day. . . . It’s very exciting. It’s quite
the experience in that room. Nothing really prepares you for
it.”