I got an interesting email this morning about the Chicago Blackhawks. (Wait guys, that's not a joke!)
Last month, the Hawks had six straight road games sandwiched around the Thanksgiving holiday. They went from Phoenix to Dallas to Toronto (nice travel agent), then had three days off before heading out for a California swing. That three-day break was their only chance to get home before the holiday, and the team had arranged for a commerical flight to take the players back to Chicago right after their game against the Leafs on Saturday night. General Manager Dale Tallon was staying behind, to attend his father's funeral in rural Ontario. Take it away, crazy anonymous emailer.
This plane departs on schedule, but without a single member of the hockey team. Back in the locker room a vote is taken after the game was complete, and a unanimous decision is made by this young team to skip this flight and stay one more day. They make arrangements to check back in the hotel and on a frozen Sunday morning charter two buses that have no heat and begin a journey two hours straight north into a sparsely inhabited Canada , but where hockey is its passion. They arrive at their destination to the surprise of the teams general manager who is there attending his fathers wake.
After a few emotional hours, this team boards the buses and heads back for a two-hour trip back to Toronto . On the way they ask the drivers to stop in a tiny Canadian town because they are hungry. To the shock of the patrons and workers at this small hockey town McDonald's, a professional team walks out of two rickety buses and into the restaurant, which just happens to have pictures of two members of this team on its wall. The patrons know every single one of these players by sight being Fanatic fans of hockey in these parts. One can only imagine their amazement of the locals seeing and the entire professional hockey team sit down and have a meal in their tiny little town in the middle of a hockey season. After a while they board the buses and catch their same flight 24 hours later, giving one day to their general manager.
Have I made this up, is this an excerpt from some fictional book? No.
This a true story of the Blackhawks last Saturday night and they decided to attend Dale Tallon's fathers funeral. It's amazing that such a good story can be found nowhere on the internet, and not even mentioned in the Chicago papers. Had one of the Blackhawks got into a fight and punched some drunken loser in a Toronto bar it would be plastered all over papers and the television. This being said, its hard to imagine any professional football, basketball or baseball team doing this, but the members of the Blackhawks claim any "hockey" team would have done this. This is one reason I continue to be a big hockey fan, and another reason I am excited about this Chicago team. I thought I would share as this story appears to have gone unnoticed.
Still skeptical, I sent an email to Sarah Spain of Mouthpiece Sports, who has forgotten more about Chicago hockey than I care to remember.
Got a response from one of my contacts in the org. This is a funny addition - it's true that they took a bus up to his dad's funeral — and afterwards they all went to McDonald's where there were [Patrick] Kane and [Jonathan] Toews trading cards in the happy meals. I don't think the unheated part was true, but yeah - these guys are all nice, which makes the job very easy.
Yeah, the unheated bus did seem like a bit much, didn't it? Was that embellishment really necessary? But it is a sweet story nonetheless, and it is shocking that more media outlets haven't picked up on it. Do you know how much fuzzy, heart-tugging mileage SportsCenter could get out of this? Don't even get me started on Costas.