James Van Riemsdyk opens up on fatherhood and hockey’s return


The impacts of COVID-19 have been felt globally and as the world waits for a return to normality, hopes of our favorite sports resuming are beginning to rise. Hockey fans are among the most eager to see this happen, with the playoffs being so teasingly close at the time of the postponing of the season.

Flyers’ left winger James Van Riemsdyk is on the ‘Return To Play Committee’ and was able to provide a brief update as to how things are progressing in a recent call with the media.

It’s one of those things where it’s just the times of the calls and the different stuff can be a little sporadic. That’s been a thing where I am just trying to make as much time as I can for that. Obviously, it’s an important thing to navigate through the different issues so ultimately we can try to find a safe way to get things going here. There’s been some different talks and things like that, trying to sort through some different issues. It’s trying to manage your time a little bit better now that you have a baby.

That final sentence is probably what caught your eye. A few weeks ago, JVR and wife Lauren welcomed their baby girl into the world. In a time of such sadness, fear, and confusion, to see something so warm and wholesome emerge is a beautiful piece of news and one that isn’t lost on the 31-year-old.

It’s been incredible. The silver lining of all this stuff is just the extra time I have been able to spend at home and be there for all the little moments. Kind of worry about being a dad first and foremost. That’s been unbelievable. Obviously, everyone who has kids knows it’s a life-changing sort of moment. It’s something that’s hard to even describe until you meet her for the first time. That’s been awesome. A little bit sleep-deprived over the first couple weeks, but it’s been great to be home and enjoy all that.

If that wasn’t wholesome enough, JVR’s parents made an eyebrow raising journey to be there for the occasion.

They basically drove through the night. I think it took them like 19 hours. Just a straight-shot through, pretty much. Just stops for gas. Put them up in an Airbnb, to quarantine for a bit. Had them able to meet the baby and stuff like that. It’s been awesome to have them here for that too.

With the world in quarantine, JVR has been able to spend more time with his family than he otherwise would’ve, with the Flyers likely being in the midst of what promised to be a lengthy playoff run.

The other positive note of course is that the time away has allowed JVR’s finger injury to heal. The veteran took a wrister to the knuckle of his right hand early in the first period against the Capitals back in early March. He was sent to the locker room and was set to miss some time during a crucial period for the team. This was a big hit for the team to take. Van Riemsdyk had tallied 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points this season, making 65 appearances for the Flyers and manning their third line, up to that point. The good news is that JVR is ready to rumble whenever the season resumes.

Yeah, I have been able to play probably for a couple weeks, maybe a little longer now. Things are feeling pretty good. I wouldn’t say it’s back to feeling like it felt before, but it’s certainly good enough to play. Again, using this time wisely to try to continue to get that thing back to where it was beforehand.

With a new arrival in the family and his finger back to full health, it seems as though all is well for JVR, who is currently out in Minnesota and working with the committee to get a plan in place that will facilitate the return of Hockey and a Flyers playoff run that could finally end the drought. There’s no doubting he’ll be a big part in both of those tasks.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre