Hawks Insider

20 questions with Blackhawks defenseman Ian Mitchell


In our series debut of 20 questions, I go 1-on-1 with Blackhawks defenseman Ian Mitchell: 

1. Favorite NHL team growing up and why?

Edmonton Oilers, because I'm from Edmonton or from the surrounding area, so I didn't have a lot to cheer for growing up. *Laughs.*

2. Favorite NHL player growing up and why?

It was actually Alex Ovechkin. He was fun to watch as a kid, 8 years old and you see this guy flying around the ice hitting and scoring goals. For defenseman, I always liked Duncan Keith. Him, for sure. And recently I've enjoyed watching Jared Spurgeon. He's from the same town as I am and similar stature, and that's a guy I want to model my game after.

3. What was your welcome to the NHL moment?

It was actually right when I signed, Patrick Kane did a spin-o-rama backhand top shelf and I thought, "Wow, this guy." When you see it live, it's like, "Wow." It's another level.

4. Favorite road city in the NHL and why?

I haven't been to every one, but I had never been to Vegas before, so that was cool to see the strip and everything. And of course Florida too, being on the beach is nice.

5. Favorite road arena in the NHL and why?

I'm still waiting to play at home, I would love to play at Edmonton. But Vegas was just a sick arena too. A lot of times when the game starts people are getting hot dogs and beers, but everyone is in their seat at puck drop, which I thought was cool.

6. Favorite all-time teammate and why?

There's so many guys. One of the funniest guys I've ever played with is Liam Finlay. He plays in Allen in the ECHL right now. Absolutely hilarious. We're really good buddies.

7. Why do you wear No. 51?

15 was always my number growing up. I always wanted to wear 15, and then when I got to choose my number here, 15 was taken by Zack Smith, so I just flipped it around to 51. Brian Campbell is a guy I looked up to too, so trying to wear his number was another reason as well.

Thinking about going back to 15? I don't know, people are always asking me if I need to get new jerseys or not, but I think maybe I need to play some more games to earn a change. *Laughs.*

8. Favorite activity to unwind from hockey?

Honestly, I like to read. I like to just spend time hanging out. I like to cook too, that's something that gets my mind off things. I'd say that decompresses me.

9. What's your stick flex number?

90. I always was at 80 and then the last couple of years I've definitely gotten stronger so I felt like I needed a little bit more stiffness for passes and shots, so I went to 90 and I like it.

10. What's your pregame ritual? (Or what's one thing you have to do on a game day?)

I guess everyone will probably say nap, so for me, something different, I juggle before the game, maybe 40 minutes before we go on for warmups. It just gets my eyes going, my coordination going. If I'm kind of tired, it wakes me up a bit.

11. Best hockey prank you've witnessed

*Laughs.* I think probably, last year in Rockford, Alec Regula would go into Mike Hardman's hotel room and just flip the bedding over and toss all his stuff all over the place. We always like to pick on Hardy. Anything with him is always a good prank.

12. Hardest player you've had to defend and why

Defending Patrick Kane all the time in practice is tough because he's so shifty, you have no idea what way he's going to go. And on an opposing team, there's so many guys, but Sidney Crosby when we played against him that one night, he's tough. He's so strong protecting the puck, it seems like you can't get it from him.

13. Current or former player you'd want as a defense partner?

For former player, probably Duncan Keith. I loved playing with him, just getting to learn from him and how good of a player he was. Current? Maybe Roman Josi. He's a lefty, so maybe he and I can buzz around the ice together pretty good. *Laughs.*

14. Build your 3-on-3 overtime lineup 

You've got to have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Patrick Kane. Those three guys. No defenseman? No, just get the puck and score right off the bat. *Laughs.*

15. Favorite TV show (or movie) and why

Oh, that's tough. I loved Peaky Blinders, that's probably my favorite show. Movie? Shawshank Redemption is so good. I've probably seen it five or six times.

16. Favorite vacation spot in the summer

Last summer, I went to Hawaii with my girlfriend. I loved it there, it was awesome. I want to go back.

17. Favorite sport outside of hockey?

I love to golf. But to watch, every Sunday my fantasy football takes over my Sundays. It's playoff season now. *Laughs.*

18. What's your golf handicap and which 3 teammates would you want in a foursome?

I was at an eight this summer. And oh, Jake McCabe hits the ball a mile, so if we're playing a scramble, I want to take his drive the whole time. And then I'd be taking Alex Stalock for laughs, for sure. He can keep it light and can get us laughing out there. And then who's another guy? Maybe I'd take Philipp Kurashev, because he's not very good, so once again for laughs. *Laughs.*

19. Favorite non-hockey athlete ever?

A few years ago when the Toronto Blue Jays were really good beating the Texas Rangers in the ALCS, I always loved Josh Donaldson. I've got his jersey, so I'd probably go with him if I had to pick one guy.

20. If you weren't a hockey player, what would you be?

That's the million-dollar question. *Laughs.* When I went to school, I was a finance major, so maybe something in that. Hockey has always been my passion, but I don't know, that's something I'll have to figure out down the road.

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