Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
By Tracey Myers
The Handley family was getting an inside look at the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. But it was nothing compared to the surprise that awaited them in the locker room.
Lance corporal George Handley was flown into Chicago by the Blackhawks and surprised his family after the teams practice at Johnnys Ice House West. Handley, who just turned 20 on Sunday, flew in from Japan this morning and will be home through early January.
Handleys homecoming was orchestrated by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, along with the USO of Illinois. Toews and Kane gave the Handley family a quick tour through the facility before bringing them into the locker room. A few moments later, George came out from a side room to surprise his family.
Handley hadnt seen his family in seven months and wasnt planning to come home until 2012.
Being overseas, I dont get many opportunities to come home because of the cost, said Handley, who wore a Blackhawks sweater with his name on the back. The Blackhawks gave me a plane ticket. All I had to do is take leave and they were taking care of it. Now I get to see them and Im happy.
Anthony Enrietto of the USO of Illinois, said Kane and Toews did a great job getting it together.
Patrick and Jonathan told the Hawks they wanted to bring a soldier home for Christmas. The Blackhawks contacted the USO of Illinois and we were able to make it happen, Enrietto said. With all the Blackhawks have done with veterans and active duty members on the ice, the awareness of what these guys do every day really just hit home, especially at Christmas.
Toews, who will be having some family in town soon himself, enjoyed the moment.
Im excited to see my little brother for Christmas. I cant imagine what its like for a guy like George to come home unexpectedly and have his brothers and sisters almost in tears when he walks in, he said. We were taking them around the room. I think they were getting bored with us so it was amazing to bring him in.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.