February 11, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; NHL former player Jeremy Roenick speaks during a pregame ceremony to retire his jersey before the game between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
The late 80’s and early 90’s were great days to be a Chicago sports fan. The Cubs won the division in 89, the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant and began their steps to becoming the 90’s dynasty. The Bears were always good and made the playoffs routinely but never got back to the Super Bowl thanks in large part to the San Francisco 49ers offensive machine. The Blackhawks were also very good with a veteran group but a young kid arrived at the end of the 1980’s that put a charge into the organization that wouldn’t be felt again for nearly 20 years with the arrival of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. That kid was named Jermey Roenick and he’s #2 on my list of my top 10 favorite Chicago Blackhawks of All-time.
Roenick made his Blackhawks debut in 1988 after being the 8th overall draft pick of the 88 draft, and never looked back. Like Eddie Olyzck, Roenick was an American born Blackhawk and when his career ended in 2009 he was one of 3 Americans all time with 500 goals and one of 6 Americans with 700 assists. Roenick was tough, reckless, and a tremendous goal scorer. The great thing about Roenick was that he showed no fear even when in his youth playing with a bunch of veterans in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
1991-1992 was Roenick’s real breakout season when he became the third Blackhawk in history to score 50 goals in a season. That post season would be the closest Roenick would get to a Stanley Cup as the Hawks made it to their first Stanley Cup finals in 20 seasons. The biggest memory of that summer was the possibility of the NBA title and Stanley Cup both getting won in Chicago Stadium. Michael Jordan and the Bulls did there part by beating the Portland Trailblazers, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for Roenick and the Hawks as they were swept out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by Super Mario and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Roenick felt the frustration of the Hawks in the early 80’s when they couldn’t get pass Wayne Gretzky so when they finally did make it to the finals another superstar was waiting to ascend to championship level.
Roenick’s production remained high, scoring another 50 goal season in 1992-1993, but the post season magic was never there again with the Hawks furthest advancement was the Conference Finals in 1995-1996. Roenick never got to hoist a cup in his career or with the Blackhawks, but there he was on National TV in 2010 while standing next to Dan Patrick weeping tears of joy when the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. It made him seem like he truly was a Blackhawk for life!
Roenick’s tenure as a Blackhawk ended with his trade to the Phoenix Coyotes for Alexander Zhamnov and the Dark Ages of Blackhawks hockey was about to begin. Roenick was sensational, fearless and seemed like a young kid among men that made him a fan favorite, and like most of my favorite players he could score and put the puck in the net at anytime from almost anywhere. It’s a shame he never won a Cup, but he will always be one of my favorites of all-time and #2 on this list!
What is your favorite Roenick memory or story? Please feel free to leave your story or memory in the comment section.
LET”S GO HAWKS!!
END THE LOCKOUT!!