The Los Angeles Kings hockey players showed resiliency, heart and a strong will in their journey to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup for the second time in three seasons. They weren’t the only ones. Those same attributes are exemplified by Chris Sutter, son of Kings bench boss Darryl Sutter.
Chris Sutter was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome. The 21-year-old was never supposed to enjoy a regular life. The support given to him by his family and his father in particular has been essential to his growth.
In order to spend more time with his son, the senior Sutter left his job as the Chicago Blackhawks bench boss when Chris was just one. “Every day I get to spend with Chris is father’s day,” Darryl Sutter told the Los Angeles Daily News. “He’s been the focal point of it always. He can be with us at the rink with the guys…..he’s a joy to be around for everybody.”
Kings forward Anze Kopitar notices the difference in Darryl when he’s with Chris. “When you see Darryl, obviously he’s a hard-nosed guy,” noted Kopitar. “But when Chris is around, he shows a little bit of a soft spot.”
Chris loves to go to Kings games and practices. He’s been known to give his father coaching tips while watching practice – like father, like son. Chris also spends plenty of time with the players. He loves the team and they love him.
After winning the Stanley Cup, Kopitar was interviewed on NBC with none other than Chris Sutter. “He feels like a brother to me,” Kopitar said. “When we get down during the season, he comes in the room and jokes around with us. We play a little basketball with him. He always lightens up the mood.”
As for the Kings’ Stanley Cup hopes in 2015? Chris Sutter put it succinctly – “Let’s do it again!”
Charlie Donovan is a research intern with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.