GLENDALE, Ariz. Jeremy Roenick took it all in with pride, a humbling moment for a guy who admits hes hard to humble. But for Roenick, seeing his No. 97 listed among the Phoenix Coyotes Ring of Honor was truly a special moment.
And it would mean just as much to him if the Chicago Blackhawks also retired his number.
Roenick, who was drafted and spent his first eight NHL seasons with the Blackhawks would love to see his No. 27 hanging from the United Center rafters. While Roenick lives in the Phoenix area and could be involved in a potential purchase of the Coyotes, Chicago will also be dear to him.
They just drag their feet a little bit slower than these guys, Roenick joked prior to his Ring of Honor ceremony on Saturday night. Without question thats a huge goal of mine, to (have my number) retired in Chicago. Its the best honor as an athlete, with exception of the Hall of Fame. Its the best thing that you can have bestowed upon you.
Just based on the numbers, Roenicks certainly earned it. He tallied back-to-back, 50-goal seasons in 1991-92 and 1992-93 and had three consecutive 100-plus point seasons from 1991 to 1994.
The Blackhawks were on the bench during Roenicks pregame ceremony, something he appreciated greatly.
Both teams are special to me, no question, he said. Twenty-three years ago I was 155 pounds coming out of high school, it was unheard of for a team to draft anyone out of high school and Chicago took a chance on me. Theyll forever be in my heart. To be so passionate about one city and then be traded to another and feeling that same passion (for it), thats a special thing.
And as far as his former teams current struggles?
I think they gotta get their ass going, Roenick said. Every team goes through that. Theyre a strong team, they have a great coach. Theyll be all right.
Roenick will get his moment with the Blackhawks some day. His years and numbers with them have earned him that. Hell enjoy that chance when it comes. But on Saturday, it was about the team that retired his number first.
I think we have a good enough relationship after 20 years that well get there, Roenick said. But tonight its about Phoenix and how I appreciate being here and how much I love being here.