It’s NYE, so of course we’ve been inundated with year end lists for the last week or so. Let me add to it. After careful consideration (about 4.3 minutes), here are my Top 10 Blackhawks hockey moments of 2010. I limited this list to events that I personally witnessed or attended - this helped narrow down the choices quite a bit. The top five picks were pretty easy (and shouldn’t be a surprise), but the bottom five took a little more thought.
#10: 3/5/10 - Blackhawks 6, Vancouver Canucks 3
Anytime you can chase Roberto Luongo out of net with a five-goal first period is a game worth remembering. Add the usual chippiness that now occurs when these two teams meet (including Andrew Ladd vs. Ryan Kesler Part Two) and a Jordan Hendry breakaway goal (*Jordan Hendry*) and you have one of the best games of the regular season. The fact that this game occurred on my brother’s birthday helped too.
#9: 9/18/10 - Blackhawks Training Camp Festival
I’ve never attended the training camp festival, and this one was super special coming off the recent Stanley Cup victory. While seeing the Cup again was exciting (HI STAN MIKITA AND YOUR FLOODS), I was really stoked to see some of the new and young players on the Hawks. This was my first exposure to Marty Turco & John Scott and I was very impressed by Jeremy Morin & Nick Leddy. If anything, this was a satifising day of hockey after a seemingly long summer of celebration.
#8: 8/11/10 - Visit to Hockey Hall of Fame - Toronto
I had visited the Hockey Hall of Fame about ten years prior, but only had an hour to spend and breezed through it. This summer we spent three days in Toronto, and I made a point of carving out a good chunk of time on one day to spend there. It is truly a must see for any hockey fan. I picked the best possible time to go, as they had updated many exhibits to reflect the Hawks recent Cup win, which as you can see above, presented many wonderful photo ops.
#7: 2/27/10 - Blackhawks Night at Rockford IceHogs Game
I made my first trip to an IceHogs game (the Hawks’ AHL affiliate) for their Blackhawks night which honored former Hogs players. Included were Colin Fraser, Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg, Assistant Coach Mike Haviland (Former IceHogs Head Coach), Niklas Hjalmarsson & Antti Niemi. Unfortunately the line was way too long to wait for autographs (which I REGRET), but it was a fun time. It was also a pretty awesome game as the Hogs scored in the final minute of regulation and beat the Peoria Rivermen in the shootout.
#6: 10/30/10 - Chicago Blackhawks 3, Minnesota Wild 1 @ Minnesota
I was looking forward to this roadtrip to Minnesota for months. Not only was I going with a large group of Hawks fans including my gf and brother, it would be my first time seeing a game at the Xcel Energy Center. Of the three opposing arenas I have been to (Minnesota, St. Louis, Columbus), this one is by far my favorite. Add excellent seats in the 100 level and an exciting Blackhawks victory, and it resulted in a memorable weekend!
#5: 5/23/10 - Western Conference Finals Game Four: Blackhawks 4, San Jose Sharks 2
I only had tickets to two playoff games during the Hawks Stanley Cup run (the first being the Hawks Game One loss to Nashville), and I really couldn’t have hoped for a better game. The Hawks coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the second to tie the game at 2. Duncan Keith infamously losing seven teeth. Dustin Byfuglien scoring the game winner with six minutes left in the third. The deafening roar of the UC when Kris Versteeg scored the empty netter to seal the deal. Jonathan Toews heeding my cry of “DON’T TOUCH IT,” as the Campbell bowl was presented. Going home knowing I was about to witness my first Cup Finals with the Blackhawks in 18 years. Hands down, this was the best game I attended in this magical season.
#4: 10/9/10 - Blackhawks Home Opener & Banner Raising
It’s a moment any sports fan lives for: the opportunity to see a championship banner raised in your home arena. I was determined to see this happen at the United Center - it took money and effort, but I was there. From seeing the team enter the UC at the traditional red carpet entrance, to the beautiful and memorable banner raising ceremony, it was a night to cherish. I was lucky to spend the evening with my mother, a lifelong Hawks fan who waited 49 years to witness such an event. Even though the Red Wings won the actual game, it could not spoil the memories I have. Every time I see that 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Banner at the United Center, I can smile knowing I was there when it went up to the rafters.
#3: 6/19/10 - Stanley Cup Rally for John McDonough @ Brooks Park
“How’d you like to photograph the Stanley Cup?” That was what my brother said to me when he called me shortly after the Blackhawks won it all. Turns out there was going to be a rally for local boy, Hawks Team President John McDonough, at Brooks Park in Edison Park. My brother knows people who were organizing it and they needed a photographer. Would I do it? Is the Pope Catholic?!? Not only did I get to photograph the rally, but I also got to spend time in the field house gym for an hour with the Cup and a small group of people. And I met Jim Corneilson
(LOL at my brother’s face). And I GOT TO KISS THE STANLEY CUP
. Seriously, I owe my brother forever for this.
#2: 6/11/10 - Stanley Cup Victory Parade
It was hot. It was crowded. The parade started late. We left before the speeches were over because we couldn’t see anything and I was about to die. But it was an event I had to experience in person - and let’s be honest - as a Chicago sports fan, who knows when the next opportunity will happen? I just happened to have the day off of work as my cousin was getting married that day. This caused much apprehension in my family as I’m sure myself and others would have been a no-show had there been a game seven. But the Hawks won it in six, and I got to celebrate with two million of my closest friends.
Need I even tell you what happened this evening? Sure I wasn’t in Philadelphia celebrating the Blackhawks first Stanley Cup in 49 years. But I was at a local bar with my girlfriend and other fans, and it was probably one of the more surreal moments of my entire life. The gut wrenching three periods of regulation. The OT goal by Kane that no one knew went in (I swear time slowed down and the bar was SILENT) and the uproar after it was confirmed. Crying. Being wired until 3am and working that morning. Yeah. It was cool, bro.
Here’s to an even better 2011. Have a safe and happy New Years dear readers!