Jarret Stoll didn’t take batting practice or throw a pitch Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Kings center was nursing a limp, among other aches and pains that come with playing 78 games in the NHL regular season plus another 26 in the playoffs en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
That’s a shame. Stoll played baseball about as long as one can and still reach the highest level of another professional sport. The Saskatchewan native said he played hockey and baseball up until age 17, then focused on hockey full-time.
“I enjoyed baseball, enjoyed throwing the ball around. I played first base and pitched a little bit,” he said.
Stoll recalled his fastball cracking 80 mph on the radar gun at one point, so he probably chose the right sport. He’s appeared in 719 NHL games in a career that began in 2002-03.
“I liked both sports but it was a pretty easy decision to pick hockey and stick with it,” he said. “A lot of my buddies kept playing baseball and went on. A couple got tryouts to major league teams. Hockey was always what I wanted to do and what I love doing the most.”
Stoll was 12 years old when the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 13 when Joe Carter walked off the Philadelphia Phillies for back-to-back championships.
These days, he’s a Dodger fan. He’s called Southern California home since his first season with the Kings back in 2008-09, and wouldn’t mind dropping in to watch the local baseball team win a championship of its own.
“I hope that happens,” Stoll said. “We’ll be here cheering them on if it does.”