Question 1: The best moment is when Rocky Wirtz took over the organization after the passing of Bill Wirtz. The ’Hawks went from an organization that was one of the worst in all of sports (ESPN also ranked it the worst) to now being one of the best organizations in all of sports in a decade.
They have won three Stanley Cups and have opened up a state-of-the-art training facility that will be used by the community as well. And you can see home games on local TV as well now, something we never thought possible 10 years ago.
Question 2: It has to be a tie with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. They play different games, but this era will be defined by both of them coming into the league with the ’Hawks at the same time. They turned the product on the ice from dreadful to exciting, and in the end have raised the Stanley Cup three times.
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Question 1: The day that Rocky Wirtz took the helm of the Chicago Blackhawks organization is the moment I am most thankful for. After years of suffering through the Bill Wirtz years of loyalty to general manager Bob Pulford and his plodding style of hockey, the ’Hawks joined the modern era of hockey.
If not for Rocky Wirtz’s leadership, we may have waited even longer for the ’Hawks to start playing the exciting brand of hockey that we have become used to seeing. Rocky put together a solid front office and coaching staff that transformed the hard-hitting ’Hawks into the fast and skilled team that finally won the Stanley Cup after 49 years. All roads lead back to Rocky Wirtz.
Question 2: Marian Hossa is my easy choice for the player I am most thankful for. The 2008 ’Hawks had a bunch of extremely talented young players but couldn’t get past the rival Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 playoffs.
In the fall of 2009, the signing of free agent Hossa was the crowning piece, bringing in an elite veteran player who could dominate in all three zones of the ice. Hossa was of course a prolific scorer, but he brought an unsurpassed two-way game that made an impact on every shift. He led by example and the young team saw and learned to play the type of responsible game that Joel Quenneville designs.
His possession game was the epitome of Blackhawks hockey. He played and excelled on both the powerplay and the penalty kill. It’s no wonder that Jonathan Toews handed the 2010 Stanley Cup to Hossa first. He was the most influential player in defining the team’s identity.
And this year, the absence of the demi-god has been a serious blow as the ’Hawks scramble a lot at both ends of the ice. I really miss this guy, and so does the team.