Blackhawks
USA TODAY

Fatherhood: Corey Crawford revels in new off-ice role

Corey Crawford is usually a pretty laid-back, happy guy regardless. It’s just his normal demeanor. But ask him about his newborn son, Cooper, and Crawford gets a smile on his face that doesn’t leave throughout the conversation.

“I’m just starting to get used to it. I mean, he’s not doing too much right now. I get to cuddle with him and sit on the couch and watch TV. It’s pretty exciting, though,” said Crawford. “He’s growing every day and I can see he’s starting to notice things. His eyes are wide open, he’s looking at lights all the time. It’s pretty cool; it’s a pretty cool experience.”

When the Blackhawks wrapped up their Notre Dame portion of camp on Thursday, Crawford was among the happiest to get home. He and his girlfriend Kristy welcomed their son on Sept. 5 and while Crawford used FaceTime to see Cooper the past few days, he’s welcoming every moment he gets to spend with him in person.

The days of Crawford’s life being solely about him are gone and the Blackhawks goaltender is loving his first few weeks of fatherhood.

“Everything now is about him. After practice, that’s what I’m thinking about, him and my girlfriend instead of just thinking about myself and trying to get prepared for practice or games or whatever,” Crawford said. “The preparation is still there but more of what I do goes toward him.”

When Crawford’s on the ice he’s focused on his game. Much like the rest of the Blackhawks Crawford was frustrated and angry that the team’s first-round sweep in April. In exit interviews Crawford said he was happy with his first half of the season but not the second – “just didn’t have the same reads, the same jump that I did the first half. Not to say I didn’t play well. There were games I played really well. But there were a lot of games I was ordinary, just average.”

“There are always ups and downs. You just try to limit the downs as much as possible. You don’t want to have too many down games in a row and you want to try to help the team win as many games you can. I don’t mean win the game by yourself but put the team in a position where they have a chance to win every night,” he said. “You just try to be as consistent as you can throughout the year.”

On the ice the job remains the same. Off the ice, things have changed considerably. When Crawford gets in net his thoughts are completely on the game but ultimately, everything he does from here on out is about his son.

“I mean I’ll be thinking of [him] but once the game starts the focus is on the puck. I don’t like to think of other things when I’m playing; try to stay as focused as I can. But I can’t wait until he starts to crawl and I can play with him,” Crawford said, the smile returning again. “It’s definitely a new life right now.”