Scott Niedermayer with his family at the Ronald McDonald House of Orange County. At left is Joshua. Luke is on Scott's lap. To the right of Lisa is Jackson. Logan is at top.

Scott Niedermayer with his family at the Ronald McDonald House of Orange County. At left is Joshua. Luke is on Scott's lap. To the right of Lisa is Jackson. Logan is at top. (Jon Didier Photography / March 30, 2012)

Before a photographer snapped a picture of Scott Niedermayer's family, the former star Ducks defenseman directed a stern, yet calm order to one of his four sons.

"Sit up straight," Niedermayer said.

For 18 years, Niedermayer was looked to as a leader on his teams. Now he's mainly the leader of his family. That family, which includes wife Lisa, and sons Logan, 12, Jackson, 11, Joshua, 8, and Luke, 3, has been grateful that Niedermayer is now away from the game. They follow his direction. They get to spend more time all together, as a family, said Niedermayer, a Newport Beach resident.

Wednesday evening was a time for them to be together. The family gathered at the Ronald McDonald House of Orange County in Orange before attending the Ducks' hockey game against San Jose at Honda Center.

The Niedermayers received a tour of the house. Then they posed for a portrait in a cozy lobby. Nearby on a wall there were photos of families that have received help from the McDonald house.

Niedermayer smiled with Luke on his lap. The four-time Stanley Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist says he is enjoying these days with his family. Of course, there's a big part of him that misses the game, he admits, but he is happy to have more time with his wife and four sons.

The 38-year-old Niedermayer also has time for charity work. His family volunteered to be honorary chairs of Sunday's Walk for Kids at Honda Center.

The event is a 5K walk that benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California and the services they provide. There are also walk events at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, Shoreline Park in Long Beach and Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.

The Niedermayers want to do their part because the Ronald McDonald House helps families who need a home away from home when their child is sick or injured at a hospital nearby. The McDonald house in Orange is near Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Niedermayer said his family has not had a direct experience with the place, but his wife's cousin did use the McDonald house in Canada.

"It's a great charity and they do great work that is very important," Niedermayer said. "They provide a place to stay for families when their children are sick. That's not a fun time obviously. To have something like this that takes care of at least some of their issues they have to go through, I would imagine that it would be a great thing."

Niedermayer said Kevin Starkey, vice president of operations for Honda Center, asked him to help with the charity and Niedermayer, "jumped at the chance." Niedermayer remains involved with the Ducks in a management-type role, he said. His time with the Ducks is flexible and allows his schedule to open up for coaching his sons' hockey teams, or driving them to soccer practice. Or walking for charity at Honda Center this Sunday as part of Team Niedermayer.

It's a different life for sure than being on the ice, but Niedermayer is cool with it. So is his wife.

"It's great to have him home," Lisa said. "It was a big change for all of us. We've adjusted and it's great."

Niedermayer answered a few questions while at the McDonald house Wednesday night and before the Ducks' victory over the Sharks.


Question: Do you miss the game?

Answer: I think you're always going to miss it. It was a big part of my life for a long time. I was fortunate to have a lot great experiences throughout my career. But at the same time I'm now getting a chance to do some things that I normally wouldn't get the chance to do. A lot of it is joining my kids in what they do.

There are times I miss it, but that will probably be forever. It's a pretty special thing and a tight bond you have with your teammates. You're with them every day. I do miss it, but I'm enjoying what I'm doing now.