Chicago Blackhawks’ Hometown Guys On The Go: Vinnie Hinostroza (Part III)

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 29: Vinnie Hinostroza #48 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates in the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center on March 29, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 6-2. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 29: Vinnie Hinostroza #48 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates in the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center on March 29, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 6-2. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks’ tendency for cutting ties with players from the Chicagoland area continues. Today, we look at the third and most recent native to hit the road.

Last week, we glanced at Ryan Hartman and his quiet exit from the Chicago Blackhawks. Hartman was traded to Nashville in February of 2018. Nashville recently gave Ryan Hartman a one-year, $875,000 contract through the 2018-19 season. This contract says one thing: “Prove it.” Hartman will become a restricted free agent once this next season concludes.

This week, we will highlight the last active, Illinois native to recently play for the Chicago Blackhawks. Vinnie Hinostroza grew up a Blackhawks fan and even found childhood friends in the locker room with him during his time with the organization.

Vinnie Hinostroza: Bartlett native

Vinnie Hinostroza is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. Before the 5-foot-9, 173-pound forward committed to hockey full time, he was breaking tackles and leaving defenders in the dust on the football field.

In the fall of 2007, Hinostroza played running back for the Bloomingdale Bears. However, Hinostroza was not alone. Out in front and setting up blocks was the familiar face of a young Hartman.

From a young age, the two were inseparable. Some of the fondest memories young athletes have is just having fun and competing with their friends — the cherry on top being that both would later be drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks.

"“It’s crazy,” Olalde said. “You have a better chance of winning the lottery. It’s got to be a dream come true.” – Norberto Olalde, Youth Football Coach (Chris Kuc, July 25, 2018)"

Hinostroza and Hartman grew up together, occasionally skated on the same line together, they lived together and hung out off the ice together. Certainly a “dream come true” to have your best friend at your side down the road to the NHL, but also landing within the same organization.

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Bartlett, Hinostroza’s hometown, is about 35 miles from Chicago. Growing up a Blackhawks fan was embedded in his DNA. It couldn’t get any better than that, could it? It certainly did.

"“Just to be in the same NHL locker room together, it’s pretty weird and pretty cool.” – Vinnie Hinostroza (Chris Kuc, July 25, 2018)"

Hinostroza would never quite grasp the reality of the opportunity he had been given. The opportunity to skate with the organization he grew up rooting for. But, to also have your best friend in the same locker room and on the same line at times, the dream undoubtedly got better.

Wearing the Blackhawks logo now as a player rather than a fan must’ve been a special feeling within itself. But, to Hinostroza, what was even more special was the opportunity to play the game he loves with his best friend.

When Hartman was traded to the Nashville Predators in early 2018, many reports noted the impact it had on Hinostroza. In the Hartman article posted last week, Hinostroza mentioned that he hoped could see his best friend once more before he set off to join the division rival Nashville Predators.

Months later, on June 15, Hinostroza would receive a two-year contract extension.  Less than a month later, on July 12, Hinostroza would find himself as a part of a nine-piece trade with Arizona to unload the contract of Blackhawks legend Marian Hossa.

Madeline Kenney of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Hinostroza was “shocked” after learning he had been traded to Arizona. Hinostroza had finally seen consistent ice time playing 50 games, tallying 25 points and averaging 13:49 ATOI with the Blackhawks in the 2017-18 season.

Having his best friend traded away and then being traded himself was not the only concern weighing Hinostroza down. After the trade was official, Hinostroza disclosed apprehensions and pressures in the locker room as well as on game nights.

"“[My role] changed every night,” Hinostroza said in a conference call. “As a young guy, there’s a lot of pressure [in that] you never really know what you’re going to be asked to do that night. So, coming into each game, you never really know. I’m excited to just be able to play my game and not worry about stuff like that. Just be able to go have fun with the guys and work hard and have fun and play my game.” – Vinnie Hinostroza (Madeline Kenney, July 12, 2018)"

Hinostroza said in a tweet he was thankful for the Blackhawks and the fans (you’re welcome, Vinnie!). He also followed up with another tweet about his excitement for the future in Arizona and the opportunity to develop his game with his new teammates.

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The Chicago Blackhawks were Hinostroza’s favorite team growing up. They were also the team that fans saw him play his first NHL game with. But, the sweater wasn’t everything. After Hartman was traded, Hinstroza grew concerned about his performance on the ice and worried of potential mistakes he could make. This new opportunity in Arizona should showcase the true ability that Hinostroza has to offer as a young, developing forward in the NHL.

Hinostroza, as well as the other two Illinois natives, will be missed greatly. They thank us for the support over the years. But we, as fans, should thank them for their hard work and dedication to the team we support and love.

Even though Scott Darling, Hartman and Hinostroza are no longer with the Blackhawks, they still remain our hometown boys. I encourage Blackhawks fans to continue keeping track of their production while playing with their new organizations.

While one now plays out of the conference, one out of the division and the last for a division rival, their future occupies a small spot in the hearts of Blackhawks fans. We can still hope for their success as individual athletes. We have been with them since their first step on NHL ice, and it is reassuring that their new organizations recognize the talent that all started within the Blackhawks organization.

Before we close this series out, there is an honorable mention of a young player that was also re-signed for two years until 2020.

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John Hayden: Chicago native

John Hayden, a Chicago native, played 47 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season and tallied 13 points. ​Looking for a more permanent role among the ranks of the Blackhawks, watch for Hayden to bounce between the third and fourth lines. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound bruiser will add a bit of physicality to the Blackhawks’ game.