We gather at center ice today to mourn the passing of David “The Rat” Bolland. A man of few words and little emotion while on the ice. We all know how his time with the Hawks ended, so let’s start from the beginning. Bolland started his career in 2000-01, fittingly, with the Toronto Red Wings of the GTHL. He recorded 146 points in his first season in Toronto and reportedly showed a great deal of emotion in the process. His second season was shortened to only 36 games, but he converted at nearly two points per game. From 02-06 he played with the London Knights in the OHL. Rumor has it that in his final season with the Knights he received a crosscheck to the left temple, rendering the happiness portion of his personality useless. The highlight of that final year however was his 130 point season which helped draw the attention of the Blackhawks.
In 06-07, Bolland got his first crack at the NHL in which he had no goals, assists, or smiles. It wouldn’t be until the 07-08 campaign that he would take on a full time role, developing his knack for two-way play. He ended that season with 17 points in 39 games and a plus 6. 2008-2009 was his breakout year with the Hawks as a shutdown center. He contributed nicely throughout the regular season with 47 points, but it was the playoffs that endeared him to us all (unless you live in Vancouver). Bolland had a huge impact in game 5 against Vancouver that year. Despite his serial killer gaze, Hawks fans knew he had heart. Bolland had a rough 2009-10 season as we remember all too well. He had back surgery that off-season in November. Despite things going against our steely gazed hero, Bolland came on strong (highlights below) in the post season. The Rat had 16 points including two huge shorthanded goals. He also shut down the Sedins (not that that is overly challenging in the post season) and pretty much any other top line he came up against. Nothing shows off Bollands knack for getting under your skin like this highlight (sorry for quality). Thornton completely lost it. As we all know, the Hawks went on to win the cup that year, and Bolland was a large part of that.
The next few seasons were tough for Bolland. Injuries plagued him throughout his time with the Hawks. Despite that, he still had a huge impact on the post season. When Bolland returned to the Hawks in 2010-11, he brought back his ratty goodness. The Hawks were able to climb out of a 0-3 hole and tie up the series against the Canucks. Not only did he bring a spark to his line mates, but he also brought to us a highlight that I will forever cherish as he crushes Hamhuis which leads to a goal. We know how history went for the Hawks between 2010-12 seasons. So let’s skip to our latest, and possibly fondest, memories of the man we lovingly called The Rat.
His season was lackluster and filled with injuries and ridicule from the fans. We saw flashes of the Bolland of old, but the second line role was not suiting him. After the aquisition of Handzus, Bolland got to go back to a more comfortable role come playoffs. He may not have been the pest of 2009-10, but he had some key plays. Once again, Bolland had a huge effect on the outcome when the Hawks were down in a series. Game seven against Detroit was the start of Bolland’s impact on the playoffs. His huge hit on Nyquist leads to a turnover to Seabrook who puts away the game winner in OT. Bolland tallied four of his six points in the Boston series. In such a tight battle between two well-rounded teams, that accomplishment is huge. Finally, the last time we saw Dave Bolland was on this little play, where I’m told he won a rather prestigious punch bowl.
We all will mourn the loss of our Rat Dave Bolland. Let us not forget to celebrate the life of this cold yet hilarious man and all of his shenanigans. Thank you, Dave Bolland; you will be missed.
The many faces of Bolland happily celebrating