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Chicago Blackhawks: Winter Alumni Game Glance

By Colin Likas
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Lost in the shuffle of the police investigation involving Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was the announcement of the rosters for the outdoor alumni game between former Blackhawks and former members of both the Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Wild. The game will take place a day before the Stadium Series game between the Blackhawks and Wild, with the former players lacing up their skates Feb. 20, 2016, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

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Let’s take a look at the rosters, along with the years each player was with the team they’re representing:

Team Minnesota

Fred Barrett (North Stars, 1970-83); Don Beaupre (North Stars, 1980-88); Brian Bellows (North Stars, 1982-92); Brad Bombardir (Wild, 2000-04); Neal Broten (North Stars, 1980-93); Andrew Brunette (Wild, 2001-04, 2008-11); Jack Carlson (North Stars, 1978-82, 1986-87); Jon Casey (North Stars, 1983-93); Dino Ciccarelli (North Stars, 1980-89); Jim Dowd (Wild, 2000-04); Curt Giles (North Stars, 1979-87, 1988-91); Craig Hartsburg (North Stars, 1979-89); Darby Hendrickson (Wild, 2000-04); Antti Laaksonen (Wild, 2000-04); Reed Larson (North Stars, 1988-89); Dennis Maruk (North Stars, 1983-89); Brad Mawell (North Stars, 1977-84, 1986-87); Basil McRae (North Stars, 1987-92); Gilles Meloche (North Stars, 1978-85); Mike Modano (North Stars, 1989-93); Richard Park (Wild, 2001-04); Steve Payne (North Stars, 1978-88); Willi Plett (North Stars, 1982-87); Gordie Roberts (North Stars, 1980-88); Bobby Smith (North Stars, 1978-83, 1990-93); Wes Walz (Wild, 2000-08); Tom Younghans (North Stars, 1976-81); Lou Nanne (coach; North Stars, 1967-78); Tom Reid (coach; North Stars, 1968-78)

Team Chicago Blackhawks

Adrian Aucoin (2005-07); Murray Bannerman (1986-87); Ed Belfour (1988-97); Dave Christian (1992-94); Denis Cyr (1983-84); Eric Daze (1994-2006); Reginald Kerr (1977-82); Steve Konroyd (1988-92); Cliff Koroll (1969-80); David Mackey (1987-89); Peter Marsh (1980-84); Grant Mulvey (1974-83); Troy Murray (1981-91, 1992-93); Brian Noonan (1987-94); Jack O’Callahan (1982-87); Ed Olczyk (1984-87, 1998-2000); Jeremy Roenick (1988-96); Phil Russell (1972-79); Denis Savard (1980-90, 1994-97); Reid Simpson (1997-99); Jimmy Waite (1988-93, 1994-97); Tony Esposito (coach; 1969-84); Pat Foley (coach; broadcaster 1980-2006, 2008-present)

You’ll immediately note the Minnesota roster is quite a bit larger than the Chicago roster. Considering it’s an exhibition, that likely won’t be an issue with anyone. This game is all about getting some of hockey’s most recognizable names from the past back on the ice (and on TV) for a little fun. Also, filling the Minnesota alumni team with only former Wild players would prove difficult, as you can see from how few representatives (seven) actually played for the Wild. The Wild just haven’t had a ton of interesting or memorable players since their inception in 2010, though some of the players of the last few seasons might have something to say about that.

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  • One of those seven former Wild is likely familiar to you, however. Andrew Brunette concluded his career by playing the 2011-12 season with the Blackhawks. He is one of three individuals on the Minnesota team who suited up for the Blackhawks at some point, the other two being Dowd (2005-06) and McRae (1996-97). On the other side, two members of the Blackhawks team played for the North Stars — Mackey (1989-90) and Simpson (1992-93). None ever suited up for the Wild.

    A very recognizable name on the Minnesota side is Ciccarelli, who was a massive irritation to the Black Hawks and Blackhawks (remember, the name changed to its current version in 1986) as both a North Star and Detroit Red Wing.

    For me, the North Stars in this game don’t bring much as far as looking back to the past. Reason being, I was 2-years-old when the squad moved to Dallas and became the Stars. But Modano’s name certainly stuck out to me, as he retired in 2011 after breaking into the league with Minnesota in 1989.

    The Blackhawks side offers plenty of names to watch. Readers who have followed the team longer probably know every single individual on the Chicago side and might even recall seeing them all play at some point (minus Foley, of course). Watching Olczyk, Murray and Konroyd suit up for the Blackhawks should be entertaining, as all three call action for the Blackhawks either on radio or TV. Waite is currently the team’s goaltenders coach as well. And, of course, Roenick speaks his mind quite openly as a commentator for NBC Sports Network’s hockey coverage.

    Aucoin is the most recent Blackhawk on the roster, having last suited up for Chicago in 2007. His name likely doesn’t bring happy memories for fans who were around during the team’s semi-recent dark days, but this being an alumni game, it doesn’t hurt to have Aucoin there. Daze is also somewhat of a callback to the dark days. Meanwhile, Walz is the most recent player both on the Minnesota roster and overall, having last suited up in 2008.

    The one really cool thing about this game is that Foley was made a coach. He is the only individual involved who never played an NHL-level hockey game. But again, this is just for fun, and Foley is as much a part of Blackhawks history as most any one of the guys who will put on their skates. Good on the event organizers for getting him involved.

    There is a pretty heated history between the Black Hawks/Blackhawks and North Stars, though it hasn’t necessarily carried over to the Blackhawks and Wild. Still, expect a mock scuffle at some point … or a real one, in the craziest of worlds.

    Next: Blackhawks-Blues: Shutting Down The Top Lines

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