Philadelphia Flyers

James Van Riemsdyk reflects on his award-winning hot start

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After an explosive start to the season, James van Riemsdyk is once again making headlines. This time it’s because he earned the NHL East player of the month honors this past Tuesday.

In the ten games played so far this season, he has 13 points (five goals and eight assists) and shares the league lead with four power-play goals. During the Flyers- Islanders game that took place on Sunday night, van Riemsdyk had the first four-assist night of his career, taking a slice of the Pie in each goal scored by the team that night.

Throughout the 2020-21 season, the NHL is honoring frontline healthcare workers from regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.” for all of the hard work they have done amid a pandemic. JVR was given the spotlight along with the Hatheway family from Langhorne, PA. The pair of healthcare heroes were honored during a Flyers game at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Mom, Amanda, is a nurse for St. Mary’s Medical Center, where she specializes in home healthcare visits. Unfortunately, shortly after the pandemic began, she had to leave her job because she was diagnosed with cancer. However, she has recently received a bone marrow transplant and is now recovering at home. The Father, Josh, is an EMT who just began a new job at St. Mary’s Medical Center working in the emergency room, where he is now the clinical lead for all ER technicians. The healthcare power team has two children: Westin, 4, and Carson, 2.

When asked about his playing this season on Tuesday afternoon’s post-practice zoom meeting, James van Riemsdyk said: “I think, especially comparing to last year, I’m just getting some puck luck. Some pucks are going in and stuff like that. I definitely feel confident in my game though. I put in a lot of work in the offseason like I do every offseason. There are things you try to do to expand your game and add range to your game every year. It’s nice that I’m able to contribute and chip in offensively.

Even though JVR has had a hot start to the season, he didn’t want to take all the credit. With this being the first season he’s played with a baby in the house, he made sure to shout-out his wife, Lauren.

“She has been a rock star,” van Riemsdyk said. “This is obviously our first time going through a season like this together with the baby who’s nine months old today. She’s been great. Letting me sleep in on game days and days after games which is pretty much every single day of the week now. She’s definitely holding down the fort, allowing me to put all my energy on recovering and playing the best I can play.”

Through it all, the New Jersey native is making sure to stay focused on the bigger picture despite being nominated for the honor.

“That kind of stuff, I think you kind of look more at the end of a career where little stuff like that is cool. As far as where I’m at, at this stage of my career, it’s certainly all about the team and winning a Stanley Cup, so that’s what I’m focused on day in and day out.”

The other fellow NHL “Stars of the Month” for January are Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski and clinical social worker Heather Newby (Discover NHL Central Division), Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Dr. Maurice O’Gorman (Honda NHL West Division), and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and RN Renee Herman (Scotia NHL North Division).

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

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