Bryan Bickell knew his former teammate was up for the game's biggest individual honor on Wednesday, but he hadn't heard the news yet. He was at his cottage, unplugged from the rest of the world.
"That's awesome," Bickell said after hearing the news from NBC Sports Chicago over the phone. The '17 Seconds' star went on to say why Hossa was the perfect teammate who did his job without needing extra attention, just like others who played with the fresh Hall of Famer.
Then, Bickell recounted a remarkable experience he had with Hossa before the two were members of the Blackhawks.
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"Funny story, when I was younger, he played for (the Senators), I was currently in Juniors, playing for the Ottawa 67's when I was 16 to 19. Then one year, still in high school and still needed my credits and Hossa was there, our trainer got hooked up with their trainer.
"He says he remembers me, but I used to do his laundry. Fill up his water bottles, do his laundry after practice, that was part of my class credit. He says he still remembers that, which I don't think he does but it's a whirlwind that I got drafted to the Hawks and then he came there and we're hanging out together all the time. That was my dream, to be around a guy that I looked up to when I was a younger player trying to make my way and to cross paths and to be friends with him was pretty special."
Bickell was drafted by the Hawks in 2004 and began getting looks in 2007 before contributing to 2010's playoff run and winning two more Cups with Hossa after becoming a mainstay for the 2010-11 season. He was later traded to the Carolina Hurricanes along with Teuvo Teravainen for draft picks in June of 2016.
Hossa arrived in Chicago on a free-agent contract in 2009. In July of 2018 his contract was traded to the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't play the previous season due to a skin condition. Hossa's last game was April 8, 2017, a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings in LA in which he recorded four shots on goal but no points.