Ted Nolan enjoyed being just a hockey dad
LOS ANGELES -- There he was, a proud hockey dad on the ice, hugging his kid and searching for more of his family members that were trying to get down to join him.
Ted Nolan never pictured himself in this situation. The former coach of the Sabres and Islanders never had this dream of watching his youngest son win the Stanley Cup.
But he lived it Monday night at Staples Center. The father of Kings rookie Jordan Nolan celebrated like every other ecstatic father of a Kings player or coach after Los Angeles' Cup-clinching 6-1 win against New Jersey.
Ted Nolan couldn't imagine feeling any better than he did in that moment.
"I've been fortunate to do some things in life, but nothing compares to watching your son do it," he said. "I never would have dreamed about this in my life. I was nervous. I was a parent. That was a great feeling, to watch your son go through something like this -- being a parent versus being a coach and walking through it with him. It was a great experience and I'll never forget it."
"He was probably more nervous than I was," Jordan Nolan told NHL.com. "Having him here is really special. He's seen all the hard work I've done these past few years, the changes I had to make. He's a big part of that, so it's definitely great."
Ted Nolan still is a coach, most recently leading Latvia at the 2012 IIHF World Championship. He's won 147 games in four seasons as a coach in the NHL.
"He was concerned about whether he was going to stay in the lineup from game to game," Ted Nolan said about Jordan. "And [Darryl] Sutter kept him on edge the whole time. I think with young players you have to do that, and Sutter did a great job with him. Right down to [Sunday], he didn't know if he was going to be in the lineup [for Game 6] or not, which is a great thing to have as a young player because you never want to take anything for granted."
Jordan never did.
He was called up with Dwight King from Manchester of the American Hockey League in February, and together they were only concerned about surviving to live another day as Kings.
They made it through the trade deadline. They lasted through the stretch run in March. They stayed in the lineup in early April, when the Kings were trying to lock up a playoff berth. Nolan played in all 20 games this spring, contributing two points along with size, speed and energy as a fourth-line right wing.
"It's just remarkable. It has definitely all paid off," Jordan said. "It definitely feels unbelievable. We worked hard. I can't even talk right now. It's unbelievable."
No, this was real. It had to be.
Ted Nolan never dreamed of anything this good.
"When he picked up the Cup, I can't even describe it," Ted Nolan said. "It's just a very, very special feeling."
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