There's actually a very good reason that Wheeler has waited so long to make the jump - his wife, Sam, is due to give birth on November 6! I'm pretty sure a lot of guys would hold off on traveling to another part of the world to play hockey if the prospect of fatherhood was on the horizon!
"My wife and I are expecting a baby on November 6th," Wheeler told Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. "If the (lockout) is still looking bad after he is born, it's an option you have to look at but until then, I'm just kind of waiting it out. I guess if there's going to be a lockout, this is as good a time as any for us, in that sense. Things work out for a reason."
While I'm not sure that a lockout was the best option for being around while his wife was pregnant, being close to home will certainly have an effect on an expectant father.
"It's exciting," Wheeler continued. "It's weird because you see (Sam) growing and you know something is happening, but it doesn't feel real until he's going to be born. When we found out we were having a boy, that was pretty cool. I was sure we were going to have a girl, for some reason I had a hunch, but that shows you how my hunches are.
"We're excited to have a boy and Winnipeg is a great place to start a family. In 20 years from now, maybe he’ll be a future Jet."
So now you're probably asking yourself why I'm writing about a baby due on November 6 when it's October 29. Well, the little Wheeler arrived earlier than predicted, and the Wheeler clan increased to three last week! This, of course, is the reason that Blake Wheeler is off to Germany before the expected due date!
While I certainly am appreciative in seeing Blake Wheeler back on the ice, I do want to congratulate Blake and Sam Wheeler on their new bundle of joy! And while dad is off to Germany to make a little money and get back into game shape, he'll have another fan back at home cheering him on!
Even in these dark times for the NHL, there are great stories like this to bring a smile to one's face. Congratulations, Blake and Sam! Now go knock the lederhosen off the Germans!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!