Perspective from the Land of Hockey: A Canadian Fan Weighs in on the Chicago Blackhawks

Supporting your city's team is natural.  It is so natural in fact that if you don't, you are subject to being grilled about why, how, where, when...you get the picture.

So imagine you lived in a city which harbors the Hockey Hall of Fame, Wayne Gretzky has a restaurant, and everyone lives and breathes Hockey.  Obviously, this city's team would command everyone's undying support; but, imagine you didn't support the home team in this die-hard landscape?

Meet Cory Firth, a black-sheep in hockey-town; to be more clear, Cory is a Blackhawks fan living in Toronto.  We spoke to Cory about what it's like swimming with an Indian Head in a sea of Blue and White, gained a fresh perspective on the Hawks, and learned some new chirps for Grabovski and Gustavsson while we were at it.

RI: Can you describe what it is like being a Blackhawks fan in a climate where people take their hockey teams very seriously, more specifically, describe being a Blackhawks fan in Leafs' territory?

CF: It's great being a Blackhawks fan in Central Ontario.  I think with the moves the Hawks have made since 2006/07 have really garnered a lot of excitement not only in a large hockey market such as Central and Eastern Ontario, but look at what they have done at their home rink.  The United Center is crazy now, which is great to see. Hockey is alive and well in Chicago again.
Being a Hawks fan in this area does have it's downsides as well.  Living with 2 Leaf fans is a huge pain, having to fight to get the Hawks on when the Leafs are playing simultaneously is the worst... I never win, always forced to stream it instead.
It is nice when we play the Leafs though, its a guaranteed win and I have bragging rights for a year considering they rarely play each other.

RI: Were you nervous during the Leafs/Hawks game this season?  Why or why not?

CF: I'm always a little bit nervous when they square off, based solely on personal pride. Literally everyone I know is a Leafs fan, I wouldn't hear the end of it.  But when we are matched up against Garbage-ovski (over-paid), and Disgustavsson I'm not that worried.

RI: Why are you a fan of the Blackhawks?

CF: I guess I am considered a 2nd generation Blackhawks fan, my Dad is a huge Hawks fan, which by association made me a Hawks fan.  I was basically born with an Indian head on my stomach.

RI: The Hawks have 16 Canadian Players on their Roster (including their Captain), and a Canadian Coach - does this factor into your support for them at all?

CF: Not really, I mean it is great that my team is full of Canadians, I think Canadians play the right way, and they make the game exciting - look at the last few cup winners, chalk full of good Canadian players (minus Brad Marchand).
Toews started a bit of a trend in Chicago, and everyone else followed suit, I think Kane is even a little jealous of Captain Canada.

RI: If it was a USA vs Canada shootout, between Kane and a healthy Toews, who would win?

CF: Toews beats Kane every time, hands down!  Cue 2007 World Junior Semi FinalToews 3/3, Kane 0/2.

RI: Which other teams do you support?

CF: I'm not sure how your readers will take this, but I would say my second team is Ottawa.  Growing up in that area originally, it was easy to like them. My grandmother was also a huge Sens fan, I used to love watching the games with her.  She passed away recently and I think they are playing so well for her.

RI: Usually, the Vancouver Canucks end up as the last Canadian team standing in the Play-Offs and by default, every Canadian supports them.  The Canucks are also one of the Blackhawks' biggest rivals, do you throw your support their way when this happens? 

CF: I can't say I am one of those Canadians who cheers for the Canucks, EVER.  I may have been the only person in the bar that was happy when the Bruins stomped them in game 7 last year 4-0.  I'm not sure how far I should go with my hatred for the Canucks, it could get pretty heated.
My brother is a Canuck fan, I have a tough time calling him my brother sometimes...

RI: Do you wish that Canadian networks would pick up more Hawks games? Or do you find it easy to get down to Chicago enough for games?

CF: It has been pretty nice this year, the first year I have had the NHL package, so I have been able to watch nearly every game.
I can say I have only been to Chicago to catch a game at the United Center once, this past January.  It definitely will not be my last. Love the Hawks, love the city, can't say enough good things about Chicago.

RI: In the wake of Ron Wilson being fired, Coach's integrity has come into question across the League.  Do you think Joel Quenneville is a good coach? 

CF: I was very pumped when they signed Q in 08' lately he has been a little suspect, I still respect his coaching decisions (minus playing Crawf so much), I just think he needs to keep some line combo's together to generate a little chemistry - he bounces the lines around way too much.  I would also like to see Hoss, Kane and Toews together a little bit when Toews comes back, maybe not for a full game, but put them together for a period or two and they are lights out.

RI: Do you think the Hawks will do well if they make it to the Play-Offs this year? And do you think they will make it at all?

CF: I see them making it, yes.  I can't say I see them going far.  It hurts to say it, but that Western Conference and the Central Division is STACKED.  St. Louis came out of no where, Nashville, Detroit and Vancouver all made substantial moves over the deadline, which makes them better.  But, I do have hope.  They are a surprising team, and with everyone healthy and Sug [Emery] playing the way he is, you never know.

RI: Man's perspective: who is the hottest Blackhawks Player?

CF: I guess the politically correct answer is Toews or Kane, but I'm going to go off the board and go with big Daniel "Car-Bomb" Carcillo.  Awful hockey player to be honest, terrible mug on the guy, but he looks like a serious hockey player so you have to give him some respect haha.

RI: Which Player is your favorite and why?

CF: My favorite Hawk right now has to be Sugar Ray Emery based on his consistent play lately (although as I speak he is facing a 3 goal deficit in St. Louis).  Big Stalberg fan as well, he's having a breakout year.

My favorite Hawk of all time is Jeremy Roenick, he is the definition of a beauty. He may be American, but he is one of the few non Canadian players who plays like a true Canadian. His off ice antics kill me as well.

I met JR when I was 8 at a Hawks v. Sens game in Ottawa, at the former Palladium (now Sociabank Place). He was out back after the game signing autographs for fans, and I was right up front as JR came out.  I remember I had one of those classic Jeremy Roenick McDonalds 3D cards, where you bend it and it looks like he is sniping top cheese.
Anyway, he came over and I handed him my black permanent marker and he signed my card, gave me a tap on the head and continued signing autographs with my marker. I could care less he was using my marker, JR just signed my 3D McDonald's card, still reeking of the fresh McDonald's fries!  But, as my Dad and I went to walk away this belligerent drunk came stumbling over to Jeremy asking him to sign his forehead.  My Dad tapped Roenick and mentioned the marker he was holding was permanent, which the ridiculous drunk clearly overheard, but failed to acknowledge, continuing to yell out, "sign my forehead, sign my forehead".  JR looked at my Dad and I, shrugged his shoulders and proceeded to eradicate this poor drunk's forehead with a giant signature, reminiscent of the drunk woman who plastered Drake across her forehead. [see link if you haven't heard of this story]

RI: Which Player on the Blackhawks do you think they could live without/has a long way to run? And why?

CF: This is the easiest question I have ever been asked... Corey Crawford...good riddance!
I was hoping Morrison was going to be a good addition, but I don't see him panning out.  Jamal Mayers is a beauty, I hope he can elevate his game a bit and maybe fill the void we lost shipping away Dustin Byfuglien.

RI: Who do you think is the worst at doing Media for the Hawks?

CF: I don't usually speculate on their media performances - it's tough, it's part of the job - but, if I had to choose I guess I would say Kane.  He acts as though he could care less about each question; I'm sure he doesn't care, but those Media Reps are there doing their job as well, he could show a little more respect (don't get my wrong, I love Kane, he is an amazing hockey player and like I said he is forced to talk to the media as it is part of the job and I'm sure it gets a little old).

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Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, Canadian Cory!

Now for a quick recap of the game last night in St. Louis:  forgettable.  I don't even remember what happened aside from a bunch of people getting roughed up in a near-shutout situation.

Has anyone created an animated GIF of a robot exploding to illustrate how Toews is reacting at home?

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