The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks start their new season tonight. Over the last few years, the Blackhawks have really put themselves back on the scene in Chicago. Winning the Stanley Cup will put any team in the spotlight, but the Hawks momentum has been building for a few years.
One of the great things the Hawks have done is to embrace the past. They have brought back many ex-Hawks for signing appearances between periods during games. You probably wouldn't go to a game just to meet one former member of the Hawks, but it is a very nice bonus.
Last season, Laurie somehow got seats on the glass near the face-off circle. I eagerly checked their site to see who the Hawks alum was for the game and discovered it was Keith Carney.
Carney was never a superstar, but he spent 17 solid seasons in the NHL, 5 of them with the Blackhawks. In 2008, while playing for the Minnesota Wild, he became the oldest NHL player to score an overtime goal in the playoffs.
Carney was very friendly and seemed happy to be at the game. He eagerly posed for pictures and gave some kids extra signed photos in addition to the pucks they brought. It was a nice experience.
Things like this didn't help the Hawks win the Stanley Cup, but they have helped win back a fanbase which had really shrunk over the years. It has really been a pleasuure watching the turnaround.