One of hockey's best-known families has grown by one.
Eric Staal was wearing a wide grin Tuesday morning after rejoining the Carolina Hurricanes following the birth of his second son. He travelled back to Raleigh, N.C., over the weekend and was present when wife Tanya gave birth to Levi John on Sunday.
“It's been awesome, there's no other really word to describe it,” Staal said before Carolina faced the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. “It's phenomenal to be there to witness the birth of a baby boy. ... It's something that puts your whole life into perspective.”
He conceded that it was a little difficult to jump straight back on a plane to Toronto for Tuesday's game, especially with his wife and the newborn baby expected to join older brother Parker at home.
“They're going home today for the first time and you want to be there to enjoy that and get them settled,” he said. “We've got some family in town to hopefully be the support group for her and Levi. I'm excited to get home tonight and see them.”
One of the toughest parts of becoming a father for the second time was coming up with a name. A number of possibilities were considered before they eventually decided on Levi.
“It took a long time to get to that point,” Staal said with a laugh. “I'm always the nixer on the names. She comes up with them and I say no. We finally got to one where I was OK with it.”
Staal is the oldest of three brothers in the NHL — Marc plays for the New York Rangers while Jordan plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The family's youngest son, Jared, is a member of the Hurricanes AHL franchise in Charlotte.