hockey players leaving home as kids

Verdict: Sharp, Saad happy to be home in Chicago [07\30\2017] (from Chicago Blackhawks.com)

Needing no introduction, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad received one anyway at the Blackhawks’ 10th Annual Convention. During the Opening Ceremonies, both were accorded a rousing welcome. 

A day later, the International Ballroom at the Hilton Chicago was standing room only for a panel discussion. “More people than used to be at some of our games when I first got here,” noted Sharp. During a break in the action, Sharp and Saad talked with chicagoblackhawks.com.

You were traded about a week apart after helping the Blackhawks win the 2015 Stanley Cup. Now about a week apart, you have returned. Any inkling this could happen?

Saad: None, zero. No rumors about a deal with Columbus. Nothing. I was home in Pittsburgh the morning of the NHL Draft at the United Center. I think I might have just finished a workout and I got a call from Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager of the Blue Jackets. He told me I’d been traded back to the Blackhawks. It was pretty shocking. Then I got a call from Stan Bowman, saying he was happy to have me back.

I had signed a long-term contract with Columbus and was protected in the expansion draft for the new team in Las Vegas, so I figured I was still with the Blue Jackets. When I left Chicago, I kind of knew it would happen because of the salary cap. I didn’t think about coming back. Then this happened. Shocking.

Patrick, you were a free agent with the Dallas Stars. How many teams were you talking to?
Saad: Probably 30.

Sharp: No, maybe seven or eight. Then it came down to two or three. Then Stan got in touch. That was the end of it. I could have made more money elsewhere, but when I found out the Blackhawks were interested, that’s all that mattered. I was in Connecticut. I took the call, then went outside with my phone. My wife, Abby, followed me. While I was talking with Stan, she was beside me, jumping up down, saying, “Sign it! Sign it!”

She’s even more excited about coming back to the Blackhawks than I am, and I am plenty excited. I wanted to go to a place where I am wanted, and Chicago is a place we never wanted to leave. Like Saader, I knew I was going to leave in 2015. Stan said he had to move some money, and I thought he might be moving it to pay Saader. But he got traded before I went to Dallas. Now here we are. Blackhawks again.

What did you miss most about Chicago and the Blackhawks?
Sharp: First of all, I have nothing but good things to say about Dallas and the Stars’ organization. They gave me a ton a respect, lots of ice time, and everything there was first class. We won the Conference my first season there, but last year left a bad taste. Not only because we didn’t play well as a team, but I missed a bunch of games with injuries. Chicago, though, is where I spent 10 great years, won three Stanley Cups, played my best hockey and made lasting friendships. 

We loved the city, the team, the fans. It was tough leaving here and, to be honest, I never got over leaving here. We kept our place and were renting it out. We’re not renting it out anymore. We’re moving back in. I missed the Cubs, too, going to Wrigley Field. I leave for two years and they win the World Series.

Saad: The Blackhawks are where I started. They drafted me, gave me my first chance in the NHL, and we won a Cup here. I grew up here as a hockey player. I was a kid. Everything was new. There’s a lot of history with the Blackhawks, an Original Six franchise, and there are still some guys who I played with, friends. 

Like Sharpy [with Dallas], I enjoyed Columbus. Nice city, fans are supportive, and we had a terrific season last year. But the Blackhawks feel like home. Sold my place in Columbus in one day and now, as we’re doing this, my dad and fiancé are looking for a place in Chicago.

What does it mean to be returning with Sharp?
Saad: Well, we just got better looking. (Laugh.) He was always good to me when I came up as a rookie. He’s a leader and he was one of the veterans who helped me feel comfortable. Plus, look at him. What is he, 35? He’s still in great shape.

What about returning with Saad?
Sharp: He’s 24, but he’s really older than me, right? I mean, so mature. He was as a rookie. I remember when he first showed up in 2012, especially for our playoff series against the Coyotes. 

We got beat, but I took one look at this guy, the way he played, the way he carried himself, all the skills he showed. He looked like a 10-year veteran. I thought to myself even then, “this kid belongs in the National Hockey League.”

Is Saad still the “Man-Child”?
Sharp: No. Now he is a “Man.”

Saad: Haven’t heard that “Man Child” thing since I left Chicago.

Brandon, how are you different now than then?
Sharp: He’s a lot richer.

Saad: (Laugh). I think I’m a better player. I’m more mature. I’m engaged, I’ve been through trades, I played with another organization, I’ve seen more and experienced more. I tried never to be like a young punk, showing up as a rookie and acting like I knew everything. I’m still the same way, which is why my first roommate, Andrew Shaw, got all over me. 

I acted like an old man, spending too much time in the bathroom, wearing a bathrobe when we were in the hotel. He beat me up, even when he liked what I was doing, but I enjoyed being around him and he’s still one of my best friends. I’m going to his wedding later this summer.

Sharp: I’m in even better shape than when I left the Blackhawks. Whether that translates, I don’t know. I realize that some people are saying, well, he’s past his prime, his best days are gone, he’s lost a step. But as much as I enjoy being received the way I’ve been, by the fans and the organization, I’m not coming here to renew acquaintances or go to our favorite restaurants. I am coming here to play, and contribute. Whatever they want me to do.

I was on three Cup teams here, and I played three different positions. Center, right wing, left wing. Whatever it takes. Like I said, I did not feel good about last year in Dallas. I talked with Soupy (Brian Campbell) off and on last year when he returned to Chicago. He said he absolutely made the right move. I feel the same way.

What makes Chicago and the Blackhawks special?
Sharp: They got knocked out in the first round the last two years, but this is still a destination for players throughout the league. The Blackhawks can’t pay more because of the cap, the weather can be tough, but it’s still the place to play. I could feel it in Dallas. 

Whenever we played the Blackhawks, it felt like a big game. In the United Center, where it’s always full, but also in our building, even though it was half red and half green in the stands with all the Blackhawk fans. 

My first game back here with Dallas, they put a video tribute up there. Emotional. I got a video of the video. Playing against the Blackhawks is not like playing against any other team. Sure was tough for me, anyway, because I have so many friends after ten years with them. But it’s just the way things work around here. Not any specifics. Just the details, if you know what I mean. The way you are treated if you are a Blackhawk is just different. 

When Stan had to deal me, he wanted me to go to a place where I would be happy. And I was in Dallas. He didn’t have to do that. Details.

Saad: I can’t say it any better. It’s a different team and has been every year because of the cap. But the first guy I heard from after being traded back here was Tazer (Jonathan Toews). I don’t know if I’ll be back on a line with him. Who wouldn’t want to play with him? 

And there’s still a few of the guys who won the Cup in 2015. I was in Pittsburgh when the Penguins had their victory parade. 

We had the third most points in the East, but got beat by them in the first round. I can’t knock them. It’s the Penguins who got me interested in hockey when I was just a kid. But it would be nice to do that again here in Chicago. And Sharpy is right about how the Blackhawks, besides wanting to win it all every year, handle the little things. The details. I feel very fortunate. Everything in perspective. My dad, George, still has a sister in Syria.

Patrick, you and Brandon both spent two years in huge football markets. Cowboys in Dallas, Ohio State in Columbus. When you see thousands of people wearing Blackhawk sweaters around Chicago in the middle of July, is there any doubt…
Sharp: Seabs (Brent Seabrook) called when I was traded back here, and he said, “You know, Sharpy, there are great schools in the Lakeview area.” Always thinking like a leader. But, whoa. I told him I was here for ten years. And they were amazing years. My first game here after I got traded from Philadelphia, they announced a crowd of 10,000, but it was more like 7,000. 

One of our first promotions, Duncs (Duncan Keith) and I went to a train station in our jerseys giving out free tickets to games. People looked at us. “Leave us alone. Go away.”

I had a buddy from back home in Canada working here and I got him tickets. He had an entire section to himself. A big guy, he stretched his arms around the seats next to him and draped his legs over the seat in front of him.

Where is he now?
Sharp: He’s not working in Chicago anymore. But if he comes back for a game and asks for tickets, he’s not going to have a section to himself.

anonymous asked:

Sid's story puhlease!!

this is kind of written about Hold Onto Me by Mayday Parade because I have a slight obsession. If this one doesn’t make sense I understand. I’m kind of hesitant to post it. Enjoy!

[READ MORE]

“I just don’t know anymore.” You said quietly as a tear fell from your eyes.

“No, please.” Sid said, his voice sounding wrecked and desperate.

“Baby, you can’t leave.” He said as he moved to kneel down in front of you sitting on the couch, “I know I’m difficult and I know I think too much. I know I have my problems and I know I don’t always make time for you because of hockey, but, please.” He grabbed your hands as he desperately tried to get you to look at him.

“I know this is me. I know I’m why you want to leave, but without you I’m nobody.”

You huffed out a laugh, “Are you kidding? You’re ‘Sidney Crosby world’s best hockey player’.”

“That’s what I am to the world. That’s all I am. With you, I’m someone. I can be me and not have to be ‘the best’ or whatever the world sees me as. I need you.

“Sid, I just—“

“Don’t leave, please. Give me a chance to change this. Let me show you that you are my home. Hold onto me for a little bit longer. I’m begging.” He sounded like he was on the verge of sobbing. He was desperately grabbing at your arms like if he were to let you go you would be gone forever.

“You see me for who I am. Who I really am. You see something in me and I don’t understand it, but I am so thankful for it.”

You finally had the courage to look at him, his eyes were full of tears and there was a single tear trailing down his cheek. You lifted your hand and gently wiped the tear off of his cheek. He closed his eyes and breathed a small sigh of relief. When he opened his eyes to look at yours he said,

“I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry. I promise things are going to be different.” He let his head fall into your chest as he mumbled how much he loved you. You wrapped your hand around his head and gently played with the hair at the base of his neck. After a few moments he lifted his head to meet yours. He leaned in and gave you a gentle kiss on your lips. He worked his way up your cheek placing small kisses until his mouth was near your ear.

Please, don’t you ever leave.” He said almost too quietly before pulling you in for a long, tight hug.

You knew there was a good chance that things wouldn’t change. He was Sidney freaking Crosby for God’s sake. If he was as dedicated to hockey as he was he wouldn’t be the best. You knew he had his problems and you did too. You also knew that there was never any chance of you leaving him, not a real one anyway. You loved him for exactly who he was and nothing would ever change that.

a few facts about breadman part 3 !STORYTIME!

1. To the q about his home Artemi usually answers: “anyway, you still don’t know where it is so…” (Artemi was born and raised in Korkino, its a village in the Chelyabinsk region, Russia. And if you know where it is you can have a point here). 
2. Artemi was 5 when he tried to skate for the first time (idk if it was successful but i mean if he s now in Chicago it probably was)
3. Oh no, it actually wasn’t :) So basically Artemi hated hockey at first as he believes for about a month bc he was falling everytime.
4. Artemi s grateful to his granddad who was with him through everything (starting with early morning rides to the training which was 40km away to the artemis silver medal of the world championship) and we all should be too bc Vladimir Ilyich (its the name of artemis grandpa) did everything he possibly could to give us such a great player an okay player.
5. His first shift in KHL wasn’t the best.
Artemi lost the puck and the other team scored, after that he was so mad at himself he wanted to leave the arena and never come back again. !Like Artemi actually thought that hockey isn’t his cup of tea! but it truly is.
6. When Panarin was 8 (in fact he looked like 4-years-old bc he was such a small kid) he lost his ticket so he couldn’t get home, then he decided that the best idea is just to stand at the bus stop and cry. Well, it worked and a man gave him little money to buy a new ticket. Since then he has never lost any ticket again. 
7. Artemi likes telling stories to reporters.

Hockey Summer School?

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that one of the very first things I got emotional about when I was getting into hockey (before I even had a favorite team or player) was the lack of Real Life Skills these guys had when they retired.  Don’t ask me why, this was just what Hockey Rookie Kim decided to fixate on. Now that I know my way around the sport a bit more I’ve come up with what I deem to be a brilliant plan to help these guys out right when they’re about to get to the big time.  I propose an intensive summer school type situation the summer after these kids get drafted that should help them navigate both 1.) being in the public eye and 2.) suddenly having all the freedoms of a very rich adult.

Listen up NHL, I’ve already made your curriculum for you.

Day 1: Hair Gel: Just Say No (and other style tips)

Many hockey players leave home to pursue their dreams at the ripe old age of 15. I don’t know if you remember being 15 but if for some reason you’ve blocked it out let me remind you: no one is fashionable at 15. I had finally learned how to use frizz serum after I figured out that humidity + curly hair isn’t a good combo. I thought wearing those jelly bracelets from Hot Topic was the Height of Fashion and I made everyone wear converse to my Quincenera. Luckily, I’ve grown since then.

Maybe it’s the lack of parental influence asking them “is that really what you’re wearing?” when they leave the house or maybe it’s the fact that they’re spending nearly all of their teenage boy brainpower on hockey- but hockey players are not exactly known for being the best dressed.*

As the name of this course implies, one of the main focuses will be to show these boys that hair gel is not the be all end all of hair styling expertise. In fact, I think this course should show them other options to tame their locks and just preemptively ban them from buying it except in case of extreme emergency. I’m doing all of us a favor here.

Other styling tips would include throwing out all of their flip-flops and going through their wardrobes in a What Not To Wear style montage. Do you think the NHL could hire Stacy London for a week?

At the end of this course everyone gets a commemorative t-shirt that reads “Soft Hands & Soft Hair Makes a Winning Player

Day 2: The Internet and You

Personally, if I was trying to work my way towards the Very Public occupation of being a professional athlete from a young age, I would be pretty self-conscious about what I posted on social media. But maybe that’s just me.  I’m assuming teenage boys think differently.

In any case, it would probably be a good idea to give these boys a crash course in the do’s and don’ts of social media to avoid any major mishaps. Realistically, mistakes will happen and things will get tweeted in the heat of the moment that can’t be deleted (The internet never forgets, kids. There will always be screenshots.)- but hopefully they can steer the kids away from any big mess ups and remind them why slurs and derogatory terms are a bad idea. You know, just an idea.

This course might also be a good intro into how to best use the internet to foster a connection to their fan base if the player is into that sort of thing. With more and more players getting outside modeling and endorsement deals, it would be nice to show them how to cultivate a #brand from the get- go.

Day 3: How to Eat Like a Grown Up

Lately several NHL teams have been contributing to my favorite genre of online video which is Large Clueless Boys Learning How to Cook. It’s like Masterchef but no one knows what they’re doing and everyone eats a million calories a day. Amazing.

I’m pretty sure that teams are actually starting to give their new guys basic cooking lessons, but I would like to make sure that these kids really know what they’re doing. They could do a Guy’s Grocery Games type deal that teaches these guys the importance of having a well stocked kitchen. They could have handy little charts that show them that ordering out every night is way less cost effective and delicious than learning how to cook. (I’m looking at you Seguin.)

Listen, I may be able to get away with just throwing stuff together and hoping if it all works out (and ordering a pizza if it doesn’t) but these guys make their entire livelihoods from being in the best shape possible and sometimes I have to go to my mom’s house for dinner because I forgot to go grocery shopping for 2 weeks in a row. Don’t be like me Tyler Seguin, you can do better.

Day 4: Smiling: It’s important

Going back to day 3, a big part of being a professional hockey player is the fact that your life is going to be much more public now. People might recognize you or go to special events where you are and ask you for pictures.

I’ll admit that this course might be more for my own amusement than anything that might help these poor boys out, but bless their hearts some of these boys do not know how to smile. Help them.    

Day 5: Spend Your $$$

Now that our Hockey Babies have made it to the big time and are now Hockey Toddlers, they’re going to be making a lot more money than any young person should reasonably have. Broadly speaking, yes, a salary that starts at 500k and only goes up is a lot of money. But we have to take into account the fact their careers are very dangerous and could end at any time with an injury that could potentially leave them unable to work any other job for the rest of their lives. This is a depressing thought, and personally I like to think of my faves as invincible and playing forever but we all know that’s not always the case.

So we should teach these kids how to handle their money responsibly so not only will they be alright in the absolute Worst Case Scenario of them being injured, but also because it’s just the responsible thing to do. I promise you that no one needs 15 sports cars, even if they look super sweet.

 

*There are, of course, exceptions. PK Subban, for example, is very well dressed.