Wisniewski makes a surprise visit

As James Wisniewski goes through his second NHL lockout, the first was during his draft year, he knows his time as a professional hockey player is limited. Wisniewski, defensemen for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is not without his list of things to do, though, while he waits for the NHL and the NHLPA to work things out and get the season under way.

With James and his wife Nicole Wisniewski expecting their first child in a few months, and a complete remodel of the home they purchased in Dublin, OH. Wiz is busy. All this while fitting in a rigorous training schedule, with the confidence a deal will get done and hockey can start.

On a quick trip to His wife Nicole's home town of Simi Valley, California, James lugged all of his hockey equipment on a plane with him, because, during a FaceTime chat, he promised his 3 year old nephew he would help him play hockey the next time he was in California. See the tweet! While there James decided to also surprise the Mariners, a PeeWee A youth hockey team.

"It was a blast," said Wisniewski. "Sometimes it's a refreshing reminder that we started to play hockey because we love it. At first I was like are any of these kids gonna know me, but because I spent some time with the Anaheim Ducks, a lot of them did. The others were all, 'and you are.....' no just kidding. It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great kids."

Lots of NHL players have visited youth hockey teams during the lockout. To many to name in fact. About a 1,000 kids have been joined by an NHL'er for a practice, and the pros have combined for many hours at rinks all over America and Canada in the past few weeks.

“After I changed I stayed a bit to sign some autographs, take some pics and talk to them a bit,” Wisniewski said. “Some of the kids were a little shy I think. For me it was a lot of fun to give them a special day."

Only one of the Mariner mothers new James would be there that day. Kim Blahowski, a friend of the family, coordinated it with a member of James' WizWear Team, to give the Mariners coach, team manager, and the rinks hockey director a heads up the James would be there.

"Thank you James, my son Riley was very excited to have practiced with you on Saturday. He has been your fan since we first saw you play for the Ducks. You are a true gentleman, I look forward to seeing when the season eventually starts." -Ryan S.

If you would like to check out some more pictures taken during the Mariners practice with James, Click Here

Wisniewski youth hockey