Blackhawks

Alumni Game Preview: Jeremy Roenick excited to rekindle rivalry

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Alumni Game Preview: Jeremy Roenick excited to rekindle rivalry

Comcast SportsNet will air the Stadium Series Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 20 between the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild/North Stars. To get you ready for the game, read more about these former Blackhawks below.

Jeremy Roenick knows what it was like to be a part of the Blackhawks-North Stars rivalry back in the 90s, which began long before that.

It was no holds barred when the division rivals met.

The two teams will rekindle that rivalry during Saturday's Alumni Game on CSN, and while the intensity may not reach the level it did back in the 80s and 90s, it will certainly be entertaining for those that remember the bad blood between them in those days.

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"It is going to be a blast, cause if you remember our old heydays, the North Stars vs. the Hawks, it was bedlam," Roenick said during SportsNet Central on Tuesday "There were a lot of animosity, there were a lot of great games. I think probably the worst loss that I've ever had as a professional athlete was in 1991 when we won the Presidents Cup Championship with the Hawks, No. 1 in the league, and we ended up losing in the first round to Minnesota. As I'm walking off the ice, I get hit in the face with a hot dog by this little 9-year old; talk about taking a beating off the ice and on the ice.

"There's a lot of good memories, a lot of crazy memories."

Roenick spent 20 seasons in the NHL with the first eight in Chicago, where he ranks ninth in franchise history with 596 points. In 82 career playoff games with the Blackhawks, he compiled 77 points (35 goals and 42 assists), which also ranks ninth in franchise history. Eight of those goals were game-winners.

Roenick was drafted by the Blackhawks with the No. 8 overall selection in the 1988 draft.

Check out the full rosters below.

Blackhawks Minnesota
D Adrian Aucoin D Fred Barrett (North Stars)
G Murray Bannerman G Don Beaupre (North Stars)
D Ed Belfour F Brian Bellows (North Stars)
F Dave Christian D Brad Bombardir (Wild)
F Denis Cyr F Neal Broten (North Stars)
F Eric Daze F Andrew Brunette (Wild)
F Reggie Kerr F Jack Carlson (North Stars)
D Steve Konroyd D Jon Casey (North Stars)
F Cliff Koroll F Dino Ciccarelli (North Stars)
F Dave Mackey F Jim Dowd (Wild)
F Peter Marsh D Curt Giles (North Stars)
F Grant Mulvey D Craig Hartsburg (North Stars)
F Troy Murray F Darby Hendrickson (Wild)
F Brian Noonan F Antti Laaksonen (Wild)
D Jack O'Callahan D Reed Larson (North Stars)
F Eddie Olczyk F Dennis Maruk (North Stars)
F Jeremy Roenick D Brad Maxwell (North Stars)
D Phil Russell F Basil McRae (North Stars)
F Denis Savard G Gilles Meloche (North Stars)
F Reid Simpson F Mike Modano (North Stars)
G Jimmy Waite F Richard Park (Wild)
  F Steve Payne (North Stars)
  F Willi Plett (North Stars)
  D Gordie Roberts (North Stars)
  F Bobby Smith (North Stars)
  F Wes Walz (Wild)
  F Tom Younghans (North Stars)

Check back for more alumni player profiles leading up to the game.

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery was identified as the victim in an early morning drowning on Sunday at the Hamilton Harbour, Hamilton Police confirmed. He was 35.

According to the Hamilton Spectator, Emery and his friends jumped in the water around 6:30 a.m., but Emery never resurfaced. His body was recovered later in the afternoon.

Emery played in the NHL for 11 seasons, two of which came with the Blackhawks from 2011-13, where he served as a backup goaltender to Corey Crawford.

In 2013, he teammated up with Crawford to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender(s) with the fewest goals against in a single season, before going on to capture his first Stanley Cup. During that season, Emery went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts.

The Blackhawks issued this statement following the confirmation:

The Chicago Blackhawks organization was deeply saddened to hear of Ray Emery’s passing. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The Blackhawks will fondly remember Ray as a fierce competitor, a good teammate and a Stanley Cup champion.

The hockey community took to Twitter to offer their condolences when news began to spread:

Thank you, Marian Hossa: An ode to one of the best Blackhawks ever

Thank you, Marian Hossa: An ode to one of the best Blackhawks ever

When the Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews third overall in 2006 and Patrick Kane with the No. 1 pick the following year, it was a sign that the dark skies were clearing in Chicago. Things really started to change when Rocky Wirtz took over as chairman following the death of his father Bill in September of 2007, and one of the first decisions he made was to televise all 82 games.

The fans were coming back.

For only the second time in 11 years, the Blackhawks finished above .500 in 2007-08 but missed the playoffs by three points, a season in which Kane won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.

The following year Joel Quenneville took over as head coach after only three games to provide some coaching experience behind the bench for a young team on the rise. It resulted in a 104-point season and ended in a Conference Finals berth at the hands of the arch-rival Detroit Red Wings in five games.

The Blackhawks were ready to make that step into championship contenders. They just needed someone to put them over the edge.

Enter Marian Hossa.

On July 1 of 2009, he committed to the Blackhawks for 12 years worth $62.8 million. He bought into the long-term vision and wanted to be a part of something special for many years to come.

Was he ever.

In his first game as a member of the Blackhawks, Hossa scored two goals in a 7-2 road victory against San Jose after missing the first month and a half of the season with a shoulder injury. It was at that moment where you saw what kind of powerhouse the Blackhawks could be and would become with a full lineup and future Hall of Fame winger added to a mixture of franchise-changing players scratching the surface.

Fast forward to Game 5 of the 2010 quarterfinals. You know how it goes. Series is tied 2-2. The Blackhawks trail 4-3 late in the third period. Extra attacker is on. How many times have we seen this? The Blackhawks were surely going to find a way to tie it up ... and then Hossa is sent to the box with 1:03 to play in regulation. A five-minute major boarding penalty.

Dagger...

Not so fast. 

Patrick Kane went on to score arguably the biggest goal in Blackhawks history, a shorthanded one that evened it up with 13.6 seconds to go. United Center is up for grabs. But there are still four minutes left to kill off on the penalty once overtime starts, which Hossa once called "the longest four minutes of my life." 

In a span of nine seconds following the penalty kill, Hossa jumped on the ice from the box, darted straight for the net and buried home what was the second-biggest goal in franchise history to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 in the series. Two nights later Hossa assisted on three goals and the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators in their barn.

The rest is history.

Who knows if the Blackhawks rally to win that series if they don't tie it up or win it in overtime. Who knows if they break through the next year. Who knows if that core group even remains together. The course of the franchise could've changed that night.

Instead, Hossa was handed the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career on June 9, 2010 from Jonathan Toews, who couldn't give it to him fast enough after he came up on the losing end in consecutive appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and 2009.

Hossa would add two more titles to his résumé with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, which almost certainly locked up his legacy as one of the all-time greats and his eventual next stop: The Hockey Hall of Fame. The wait was worth it.

"I was hoping to get one coming to Chicago and now I’ve got three," Hossa said following the 2015 Stanley Cup win. "What a feeling." 

The Blackhawks don't win three Stanley Cups without Hossa, who will go down as arguably the greatest free-agent signing in Chicago sports history.

On behalf of the city of Chicago: Thank you, 81.