When speaking to the media after or before games Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t give them much. But, when speaking about his son Chris Sutter, he is surged and can go on endlessly.
Chris Sutter has down syndrome but when he was born doctors told Sutter and his wife Wanda that he would be deaf and blind. He had heart surgery at 14 days old. At the time Sutter was the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks and took time off to be there and take better care for his infant son.
Sutter is one of seven brothers and was raised to be a tight close family that’s there for each other, help others, respectful and still allows their kids to grown and take big steps in life.
“I’d rather just take care of my family in the locker room, and my family at home, and then people that I think should be taken care of,” said Sutter on stopping in the street to talk to families who have a child with down syndrome. Sutter doesn’t speak of his actions, he just does them.
“Yeah, it does happen a lot. But at the same time, I make a point with my family to be a part of that always. And that’s sort of helped us because of my lifestyle, because you’re gone as a father. Basically, even when you’re home, you’re not really home. So that’s something that’s always kept us close and really connected us as a family, to be parts of other people’s lives in different ways.”
When Sutter was the coach for the San Jose Sharks, he received a letter from a brother of a child with down syndrome and wrote back to the fan. Sutter invited the fan and his family to practice and greeted them there. According to the family not everyone knew how to speak to their son but Darryl did.
“Because you feel almost responsible to do it. You feel responsible, like you should do it. And that’s a good thing. It makes you feel good, too.” Sutter said.
Until this day Sutter keeps in touch with them, every day.
“You understand their emotions, because most special-needs kids, their emotions are what drives their life. They always have extreme emotions, either really happy, or really sad, really mad, something, eh? Strong. It’s because they have good hearts. Like Christopher has a great heart. If Christopher was here today, you’d all love him. You’d want to go do something with him. It’s just what he does. He can pick up how you’re feeling, it’s how he is. It’s an amazing thing. So that has had a big impact for me, us.”
And that’s just what Christopher does according to Kings forward Anze Kopitar who spoke to the media with Christopher after they won the 2014 Stanley Cup. Kopitar states that everytime the team is down he steps into the room and just has this energy that cheers them up. They play basketball with him and Koppitar states that “he is like a brother”, with his arm around Christopher. That day Christopher also got to hoist the ever so precious trophy, the Stanley Cup.
Christopher, 21, is a huge Kings fans, and Kings fans love him in return. Every time he comes on the jumbotron and dances with pure joy at STAPLES Center the crowd cheers. He high-fives the media and players after the games, plays the guitar, and sometimes plays it in church. Sutter is very proud of his son.
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