LOS ANGELES — Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell tells the story of his first experience with the Stanley Cup. Mitchell took the Cup with him on a fishing trip. He noticed a man nearby looking intensely at the Cup.
"I just wanted to make his day and I pulled over and said ‘Hey, do you want a picture with this thing?’ " Mitchell recalled.
The reaction was one Mitchell will never forget.
"You’re seeing a 45-year-old man in a full blown, like, cry," Mitchell said, "and I’m not talking just the cry, it’s like the full on sob cry."
Mitchell understands the smiles — or tears in this case, last summer in Vancouver — that come to people’s faces when they see the Cup. He and his Kings teammates brought smiles to more Angelenos’ faces Tuesday night when members of the Kings and the Stanley Cup made a visit to Dodger Stadium prior to the Dodgers hosting the Colorado Rockies.
Flash bulbs popped as the players were serenaded by one ovation after another from the crowd on hand.
As exciting as that was, Mitchell was extremely interested in having the opportunity for a photo op with the Cup and one of his best friends — Colorado Rockies first baseman and fellow Canadian, Justin Morneau.
The two were in Minnesota together earlier in their careers — Mitchell with the Wild and Morneau with the Twins — when they forged a bond.
"He’s from Vancouver, I’m from Vancouver, mutual kind of connection there and [we] just kind of hit it off," Mitchell said. "Lucky enough that his wife enjoys my wife’s company and it’s kind of rare where you get those couples where you enjoy both each other’s company and enjoy time together."
Earlier in the day the Kings had the opportunity to take batting practice inside the stadium.