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Blackhawks Mon Dec 15 2008
The Chicago Blackhawks have been off to an impressive 15-6-7 start this season, including last night's 3-1 victory over the Columbus Bluejackets, which extended their current point streak to 6 games and their home record to 10-1-4. Thanks to the resurgent effort, the Hawks have started to regain cachet within the hockey world and in the Windy City.
But their actions off the ice, in a story that has taken weeks to filter into the media, has the team getting deserved recognition from the national sports and mainstream world. While most atheletes who make the mainstream news do so for greed, ego, and criminal altercations, the Hawks are in the news for having big hearts.
In the midst of a 6-game road trip, Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon learned his father had passed away in northern Ontario. The team was playing in Toronto Nov. 22, but Tallon skipped the game to help prepare for the next day's funeral in Gravenhurst, a small town 2 hours north of the city. The Blackhawks charter flight was scheduled to leave after the game, giving the team a few days off in Chicago before continuing on to the West Coast for a game Nov. 26 in San Jose.
Following the team's 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs, the entire team decided to skip the charter flight and stay in Toronto, then rent two buses to transport the entire organization north to attend the funeral the next day, sacrificing their own time off with their families to be with Tallon's at his time of need.
The Hawks caught a charter flight back Sunday night, but not before stopping at a local McDonald's on the bus ride back, where it turns out one of the Happy Meal promotions were hockey trading cards that included Hawks stars Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane, who took time to sign some of the cards for the shocked patrons.
The story is only breaking now becuase despite the heartwarming nature of the team's unity, no one within the organization deemed it newsworthy or all that unique, since it was without a doubt the right thing to do. It wasn't until Deadspin picked up a tip that the news began to filter out, and has now seen the story mentioned in the likes of Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, and even a top ranking as the "World's Best Persons" on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Hockey players are often regarded as some of the more humble, down-to-earth athletes, and this story only confirms that no matter how the team fares on the ice the rest of the season, their loyalty and committment to the organization have made them champs in the real world.