Tonight at Staples Center, an old friend comes home.

Willie Mitchell Devils

Whoops. Not that old.

William Reid Mitchell returns to Los Angeles for the first time since becoming a two-time Stanley Cup Champion to pick up some jewelry he left behind. Oh, and to have probably his best meal since he moved to Sunrise, Florida.

So #TeamTRH decided to share their fondest memories of Willie Mitchell’s tenure as a Los Angeles King.


For me, it’s gonna sound like the biggest #HUMBLEBRAG in the history of #HUMBLEBRAGS… but after the LA Kings won their 2nd Stanley Cup in 3 seasons… I was able to be on the ice as a member of the media and I have the most vivid memory of Willie Mitchell standing in the middle of the Staples Center ice… crying.

He took a couple private moments and looked around. Mitchell knew his time in LA was done and the next (and probably final chapter) was about to be written somewhere else. But for a guy that was left for dead in terms of his NHL career just a few years prior… it must have been a spectacular moment for sure.




In 2010, coming off of the LA Kings first playoff appearance in six seasons, Willie signed with the team at a time when the fans were getting teeny sniffs, ever so slight wafts, of success. Fans were optimistic. We were excited. We were ready. Ready for WILLIE. But what we didn’t know we were getting was an affable, off-the-cuff (I mean, the dude lived in Venice), environmentalist who became every LA restaurateur’s favorite sports star.

His Instagram account was the stuff of legends.


He could sit in an empty mint green room and it would still make me happy.


His 2012 Stanley Cup picture on top of Mt. Waddington in BC, for me, tops all others from that season (Sutter’s barn pictures are a close second).


His departure, like Wayne Simmonds’, showed how it’s possible to leave a real mark on a fan base even in such a short time.



Willie Mitchell played for the Los Angeles Kings for three seasons and in two of them they won the Stanley Cup. I’m not sure the impact of a player like Willie Mitchell can ever be properly quantified or expressed. He was a steadying presence on the ice, a veteran in a young locker room and a character in a town that loves personality. While I’ll never forget the 5-on-3 Penalty Kill from Game 3 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, I’ll always miss seeing him scouting the opposition with Justin Williams before each game.

duo williamsmitchell


This sequence, from game one of the Kings 2012 playoff run, is what I will always remember about Willie Mitchell:

Well..that and the foodie stuff…and the environmental activism…and the numerous comeback stories…damn, Willie Mitchell is awesome.







Buy it now!



What else can I say that hasn’t already been said?  Willie Mitchell embodied the defense-first system that anchored the Kings over their streak of playoff appearances and Cup runs.  I would argue that he, more than Doughty or anyone else, was the face of the Kings blueline.  Plus, he was more or less Randy Jones’s replacement, right?  Hell, even without the Cups, that was a huge plus.

Also, you want the real reason its okay to mark out about Willie Mitchell as a Kings fan? Look at the play he makes at about the :40 second mark here:

That’s what I remember about Mitchell.  Those plays.  That play.

Also, this bears repeating:



I don’t remember a lot of things from the 2011-2012 season. More than a blur, it could probably be best described as a total whirlwind for me. The Kings’ first championship season coincided with my efforts to finish grad school without sobbing in public, so a lot of my memories of regular season games that year are fragmented, like disembodied clips from a David Lynch film floating around in my mind.

One memory in particular, though, has permanently burned itself into my brain for some reason. I was driving down the 101 freeway to campus and listening to the game on the radio, when it was announced that Willie Mitchell had signed a two year contract extension with the Kings. I can’t remember if it was Daryl or Nick that night who asked Willie this question, but he was queried: “Why did you sign this extension?” Willie delivered his answer in such a dead serious, straightforward, and matter-of-fact way that I remember it giving me chills. After a brief pause, he simply said “Because I want to win a Stanley Cup.” This was not lip service, this was not a mindless sound bite — this was a man approaching the end of his career, choosing to remain with my favorite team, because he truly felt it was his best shot at a Cup.

I think that was the first time I really allowed my Grinch heart to believe that the LA Kings might actually one day win it all. Thanks for everything, Willie.


captain willie



There isn’t much that comes to mind when it comes to vivid on-ice memories of Mitchell’s time in LA. This statement is not in the slightest way a knock on the defenseman – it’s actually quite the opposite. You can’t remember any of his plays because he hardly ever did anything wrong. Willie Mitchell is the d-man every goalie dreams to have in front of him. He would not often go for the flashy end-to-end rush and leave you out to dry, rather he made a career (and is still doing it today) out of making the smart plays and being the most reliable guy on the roster. You can have your game-breakers like Doughty and your true stay-at-home, gritty types like Greene, but Mitchell was the best of both worlds. He will put his body on the line fearlessly stepping in front of shots, and then turn around and score in the Cup Finals.

He was a player that sadly, many of the Kings fans on the periphery might not have noticed, because he might was not as regular on the scoresheet than a Kopitar, Carter, Voynov or Williams. He did not often make the massive open ice hits like a Jake Muzzin, or make the plays that drop jaws to the floor like Jonathan Quick. He was so good at what he did that you hardly knew he was out there. But you can sure see a difference when he’s gone. Thank you Willie.


On-Ice Memory: The hideous Cascade (later Bauer) helmet he wore. He gets a pass because it was supposedly the best helmet for preventing concussions, but it’s still ugly. I loved watching him play, though.

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game One

Off-Ice Memory: #thisishowyoudo


And finally, #TeamTRH Video Editor, Hale, has created a tribute video to Willie Mitchell. Sit back, watch and enjoy the memories (and the fine cuisine!).

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones. You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.