The little moments and a long drive make early fatherhood special for James van Riemsdyk


James van Riemsdyk found an adorable alternative to the Stanley Cup Playoffs during these unprecedented times.

The little moments with his newborn daughter Scarlett Everly, little moments that mean so much to first-time parents.

With the 2019-20 NHL season on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, van Riemsdyk has enjoyed the opportunity alongside his wife Lauren to soak in everything about their baby girl who was born May 2.

“It has been incredible," van Riemsdyk said Wednesday on a conference call. "The silver lining out of all of this stuff is just the extra time I’ve been able to spend at home and be there for all the little moments and just worry about being a dad first and foremost. That has been unbelievable. Everyone who has kids knows, it’s a life-changing moment and something that’s hard to even describe until you see her and meet her for the first time. That has been awesome."

For van Riemsdyk's parents Frans and Allison, they had a long drive for the little moments — completely worth it, though, to hold their first grandchild. The Flyers' winger, who also celebrated his 31st birthday May 4, grew up in Middletown, New Jersey. His parents made the lengthy trip from the Garden State to Minnesota, where van Riemsdyk is currently living with his in-laws. Within a couple of weeks, van Riemsdyk and his wife will be moving into their own home in Minnesota.

With the arrival of van Riemsdyk's parents, it has been one big family.

“They drove through the night, I think it took them like 19 hours, just a straight shot through pretty much, just stops for gas," van Riemsdyk said. "Then we put them up in Airbnb for a bit to quarantine and then had them able to meet the baby. It has been awesome to be able to share this with them — it has been nice to have everyone here.”

Van Riemsdyk said his wife and the baby are doing great. They've appreciated this moment being truly a family affair.

"We’re staying at her parents, so they’ve been a big help, which has been awesome," van Riemsdyk said.

Any advice from teammates on early fatherhood?

“They just said get as much sleep as you can when the baby’s sleeping, so that’s been the best tip I’ve gotten so far," he said. "It’s been nice, we’ve got a bunch of extra sets of hands around with her parents and my parents, so I’m able to sneak off and get a nap probably more frequently than I would have otherwise.”

And be ready to enjoy all the little moments.

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