So many great players go careers without championships. Fan bases in Buffalo, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Washington, Winnipeg, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Vancouver, Phoenix and San Jose have never seen a Cup in their NHL histories (Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA/WCHL did win the Stanley Cup as a non-NHL team).
Handzus was playing with a broken wrist and still winning faceoffs, Shaw took and puck to the face and played the entire game bloodied, Toews battled through constant targeting of his concussion-bound head and Kaner overcame his off-the-ice issues. Just the beginning of a long list of sacrifices on the individual level for the team.
In a city that has the best fans in sports but has been starved of championships for most of recent history – only the Bulls (6), Fire, White Sox, and the Blackhawks (2) – have won since the 90’s, seeing a team come back from years of bottom-dwelling in the standings and a formerly avid fanbase turned away and alienated by the worst owner in sports history, and then win two championships in my high school years alone, it is something special.
In a season that almost didn’t happen at all, from the astonishing 21-0-3 start to the even more remarkable ending and every last second in between, my only regret is that we now have to wait until the Fall to begin the title defense.
Thanks to Bryan Bickell for the remarkable playoff performances and Bolland for the winner, as I fear their time in the Indian Head is done, but the impact has already been made.
If it weren’t for the beloved Cubs and their century without this kind of return on the passion put in by the fans, it very well could require another long playoff drought to truly appreciate what we have been privileged with.
To the hardest trophy in all of sports to win and the best hockey team on the planet, thanks for bringing yet another championship to the best city on the planet! This team will never be forgotten, and kudos to Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit, and even Minnesota for their efforts! It’s been a great ride that has left the city hungry for even more!
-Originally a Facebook post by ChiCitySports Fire beat writer Jackson Scofield.