By: Alex Patt
June 9, 2010. It was a beautiful day in the Chicagoland area, and also a long one. The Blackhawks were one win away from capturing their first Stanley Cup since 1961, and they could clinch it that night in Philadelphia.
All I could think about the night before and that entire day was potentially celebrating one of my teams winning a championship. I wanted it so bad because I had not really experienced that before. The Bulls first three-peat was before I was born and the second one took place when I was too young to remember. 2005 did not do much for me as I am a Cubs fan. “Long suffering” 16-year old me in 2010 was desperate for a title!
Watching the 2010 Blackhawks all season long was such a treat. From dominating the regular season, to the playoff run, it was fun to witness. The epic Marian Hossa overtime winner against the Predators in round one, steamrolling the Canucks yet again in round two, surprisingly sweeping the Sharks to get to the Finals…they felt like a team of destiny. Even with all of that though, those rough and tough Cinderella Philadelphia Flyers did not make their final journey to the promise land an easy one. Yet, despite the back and forth first five games, the Hawks were up in the series 3-2 going into Game 6. Even with a seventh game waiting at home incase they lost Game 6, the Blackhawks and their fans 100% wanted to close it out in Philly.
I spent that entire day pacing around the house, trying to find things to do to pass the time until puck drop. Back when Blockbuster was still I thing I went out with my Dad and rented Avatar, a nice long movie to help eat up the afternoon hours. Even as I watched soldiers fight blue alien people, I still could not get my mind off the Stanley Cup. But next thing I knew my buddies and I were in my basement in front of the TV as the game was getting underway.
After two periods the Blackhawks had a 3-2 lead, one period away from glory. My buddies and I went onto the family computer and watched funny YouTube videos during intermission. I was pretty nervous and antsy during those 20 minutes watching random videos, thinking about what could be by the end of the night. Before we knew it the third period was just about to begin.
“20 more minutes boys.”
Time ticked away, I could not sit still. I paced back and forth in my basement. My one buddy kept assuring me, “Don’t worry man they got this.” I started to get irritated and said, “Dude, shut up!” My other friends sat quietly on couch as time ticked away. 10 minutes to go. Five minutes to go. My heart was racing, it was so close I could taste it. The Blackhawks were being very conservative in the third period, which was scary, but they were still hanging on until the final four minutes.
3:59 left, Villie Leino of the Flyers throws a puck in front of the Blackhawks net, which deflects off Brent Seabrook’s stick, then off Hossa’s skate, and past Antti Niemi into the net. Tied at three. Speechless and devastated, I got on my knees on the floor and put my head into my hands…said nothing for several minutes. No screams of anger, no punching things, just stunned silence. Hearing that Philly crowd go nuts and that horn (which normally is an awesome sounding horn not going to lie) blare over the TV was like hell to me.
Today I like to think that moment was preparing me for what would happen six years later in Cleveland when Rajai Davis nearly killed me in similar fashion.
Overtime. The Flyers had all the momentum and it felt like we were absolutely going to have to win it at home in a seventh game. I could not watch, so I curled up in the corner of my basement and looked away as overtime began. My one buddy, who kept cracking the “It will be fine!” comments joined me. We just kind of sat there as my two other friends were still on the couch with the sound of Doc Emrick’s voice on the NBC broadcast in the background.
“Threw in front THEY – Oh my it raddled around, and it kicked on back and – SCORE! We saw no light. We saw no signal.” -Emrick on NBC
Huh…wait…did we just win?!? What the hell?? What is going on. Patrick Kane is skating down the ice throwing his stick and gloves into the air, the team is emptying the bench to join him…but nobody else seemed to see it go in. So much confusion.
My Dad came downstairs saying, “Don’t celebrate yet, they are reviewing it!”
Then we saw the overhead shot of the puck Kane shot slipping under the pads of Michael Leighton and into the corner of the net. Goal. Blackhawks win their first Stanley Cup since 1961. My friends and I did not watch much of the postgame as we ran outside and celebrated with New Year’s noise-makers with other neighbors instead. The joy and relief of it all felt so good, and it will always hold a special place in my heart as the first major championship win I got to witness as a sports fan.
The following days of watching the victory parade on TV and collecting all of the newspaper articles were just as fun. I even taped the parade so I could watch it again. Yes, taping things on TV was still a thing even in 2010. I would go on NHL.com and watch the highlights of the game over and over. My family and I collected the official championship gear, including the shirts, hats, towels, commemorative pucks, posters, and DVD documentary. The celebration lasted the entire summer.
Little did I know it would kick off the greatest run in franchise history. Two more championships to follow in 2013 and 2015, including three straight trips to the conference finals from 2013 through 2015. The run was remarkable and one I will never forget. It is just so hard to believe that it has been over a decade since that 2010 victory. Outside Kane and Duncan Keith (and technically Toews despite not playing last year) that 2010 team is long gone. Many of those guys have since retired and are either working in hockey or just enjoying life. Hossa has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame after having to leave hockey due to medical conditions. But the team is certainly not forgotten.
Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Hossa, Keith, Niemi, Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Dave Bolland, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Adam Burish, Troy Brower, Tomas Kopecky, Brent Sopel, Coach Q, and others.
Soon a decade will turn into two decades and everyone who was a part of that team will no longer be playing the game of hockey. It will continue to both feel like so long ago, and also like it was just yesterday at the same time. It is funny if you go back and watch them in 2010 you realize how much older those guys look now compared to 11 years ago. A lot has happened since that Cup win, and hopefully the team can return to glory again soon.