White Towel: Nolan Baumgartner's years as pro player ‘gone so fast’

 

 
 
 
 
Nolan Baumgartner pushes the net past the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" print on the ice before practice at Rogers Arena in April 2010. Baumgartner is hitting 1,000 pro game mark after playing for 10 teams.
 

Nolan Baumgartner pushes the net past the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" print on the ice before practice at Rogers Arena in April 2010. Baumgartner is hitting 1,000 pro game mark after playing for 10 teams.

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, PNG

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It might not be the life Nolan Baumgartner envisioned for himself when he started his professional hockey career, but it’s turned out pretty well.

Really well, actually. You could call it Baumer’s Excellent Adventure.

Drafted in the first round by Washington in 1994, Baumgartner could never quite stick in the NHL, but he’s had a remarkable career at the minor league level and on Friday in Chicago as a member of the Canucks’ AHL farm club will be recognized for playing his 1,000th pro game.

It’s a journey that includes 143 NHL games — 70 of which were with the Canucks in his only full year in the NHL — 16 seasons, 10 cities and countless memories. Most of them, by the way, are good.

“It’s gone so fast,” said the player most everyone knows as ‘Baumer.’ “To think it’s 16 years already that I’ve been playing and it’s gone so fast. You hear every guy say that, but it’s true.

“The way I look at it, pretty much everything I have in my life right now I owe to the game of hockey. I met my wife because I was playing hockey, I own a house, I have a child. It’s not just a pretty good life, it’s a really good life. You get paid to go out there and play a game. Not too many people can say they have a job like that.”

Baumgartner, who turns 36 on March 23, is captain of the Chicago Wolves.

He was also captain of the Kamloops Blazers, where he won back-to-back Memorial Cups in junior, Canada’s world junior team with whom he won back-to-back gold medals, at Norfolk and twice for the Manitoba Moose in the AHL.

Just about anybody he’s played with or been coached by talks about the leadership and work ethic that Baumgartner brings.

Those are traits that coaches love, because they rub off all through the lineup.

“The best compliment I can give Nolan is that he was born to be a hockey player,” said Mike Keane, who played three seasons with Baumgartner on the Moose at the end of a long, distinguished NHL career.

“Obviously, everyone dreams about the big picture, playing in the NHL, but he absolutely loves the game. He cares about his teammates, he cares about wins and losses, he’ll play hurt. It’s all those things I learned from Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, players who know all about the way the game should be played.”

Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay coached Baumgartner with the WHL Kamloops Blazers in the mid-1990s.He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”He said the youngster oozed leadership from the moment he showed up in Kamloops as a 16-year-old.

Canucks defenceman Kevin ­Bieksa who broke in as a pro in 2004-5 with the Moose in Manitoba said Baumgartner helped him make the ­transition from college hockey.

“Just watching him — and he was our captain and our best D-man that year — and he was a guy that I looked up to,” said Bieksa.

“He was a great leader on the ice, he said the right things in the dressing room, he blocked shots in a 5-0 game.

“For me, coming from college and not really knowing much about the pro game, to watch him, how professional he was, always on time, always working his butt off, respectful of everybody, he was great role model for me.”

Baumgartner credits his parents, Dennis and Brenda, for a no-nonsense upbringing in Calgary.

“They were hard-working people and I’m an only child and I grew up with them teaching me the values of hard work, that nothing is ever given to you,” he says.

“If I wanted a new hockey stick I had to work for it.”

Baumgartner knows he hasn’t been a prospect for a while and embraces the mentor role. But don’t think he’s given up on his NHL dream, even now.

“I think you always have to have the belief in yourself and in your skill set that you can still play the game at the highest level,” said Baumgartner.

“I still believe that if I were to get called up today that I could step into the lineup tomorrow and I’d be OK. You’re a competitor and you compete to be at the highest level so if you’re not doing that, then why are you playing the game?”

Baumgartner had a rough start to his pro career, missing all but eight games in the 1996-97 season, with surgery on both shoulders.

His time in the Washington organization was up after four seasons and just 18 NHL games.

But the time there was notable in a much larger way. It was where he met his wife, currently of nine years, Elizabeth.

“I met her in Annapolis when a couple of us got called up for the playoffs in 1998, the year Washington went to the final,” said Baumgartner.

It’s hard to know what was more interesting for Baumgartner — that Elizabeth’s family had no familiarity with hockey or that her father, Philip Anselmo was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who once was commander of the iconic USS Constellation.

“It’s kind of funny going into that situation where somebody doesn’t really know much about the game,” said Baumgartner.

What did the Admiral think about his daughter dating a hockey player?

“I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but I think I won him over after a couple of days,” laughed Baumgartner.

Baumgartner and Elizabeth, along with their 21-month-old son Jake, now make their permanent off-season home in Winnipeg, where he played seven seasons in three separate stints with the Canucks’ AHL farm club. They own a house and have put down roots in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey there,” he said.

“It’s a great place to raise a family.”

How long will he keep playing? Hay called Baumgartner in the summer and offered him a job as an assistant coach with the Giants. Baumgartner politely declined.

He’s still got some hockey to play.

“It was very surprising and nice to know he thought of me, but I’m just not ready for that side of it yet,” said Baumgartner.

“I feel great. I really think I’ve got a few more years. You always hear that you shouldn’t stop playing until you have to because you’ll miss it when it’s gone. I’m having way too much fun being a player.”

 
 
 
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Nolan Baumgartner pushes the net past the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" print on the ice before practice at Rogers Arena in April 2010. Baumgartner is hitting 1,000 pro game mark after playing for 10 teams.
 

Nolan Baumgartner pushes the net past the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" print on the ice before practice at Rogers Arena in April 2010. Baumgartner is hitting 1,000 pro game mark after playing for 10 teams.

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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