As if the Blackhawks stellar season and a shot at bringing the Cup back home to Chicago tonight wasn't enough for Hawks fans to be happy about, I'd like to present a unique story of one fan's dedication and love for his team.
As you may have read several days ago, an Australian Blackhawks fan named Paul Wilkins discussed what it was like being a huge Hawks fan and following the team down under.
Recently Paul traveled around 18.5 hours to see his team battle for the Cup on home ice in Game 5, plus 8 hours of layover. His plane leaves Thursday morning, and he hopes to catch the parade if all goes well while he is here.
I asked Paul to tell me about his Game 5 experience as I knew it would be very special for him:
I woke up Sunday morning with no voice and a headache, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Saturday night’s game at the United Center was one of the best nights of my life- it was simply incredible.
I was a ball of nerves the whole day, knowing that a loss would make it extremely difficult to win the Cup, and that a win would bring us only 60 minutes of hockey away from glory. I didn't want my trip from Australia to be in vain.
I’m normally not a superstitious person, but the biggest decision I faced before Saturday’s epic Game 5 win at the United Center, was which jersey I’d wear. For Games 2 and 3, I wore my red Kane and white Toews jerseys, which had brought two losses. So for game 4, I wore my black Hossa jersey, in a desperate attempt to have some minuscule influence on the team’s performance.
My dilemma was this- do I stick with my lucky Hossa jersey, or switch back to the red Kane version, knowing that the vast majority of people at the Untied Center would be in red as well. You could have called my choice of jersey a ‘game time decision’. I went with my red 88 jersey, which given the way the game turned out, was a great decision.
Waiting to catch a train in the early afternoon, someone approached me and told me they liked my Blackhawks hat, and asked where I got it. “Australia,” I replied, to which the person responded “Oh that sounds like a cool store, where is it?” I had to giggle.
Later in the afternoon, I headed to a bar on West Madison to soak up as much atmosphere as I could, before heading to the stadium. Even though my seats were on the 300 level, I arranged to meet a buddy at his seats down near the ice during the warm-ups. He told me there might be a chance a player might flick a puck up, so you can imagine how excited I was when Jamal Mayers sent a puck in my direction! I waved my miniature Australian flag in his direction, hoping he saw how far I’d traveled!
The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when Jim Cornelison belted out The Star Spangled Banner. There were so many highlights for me during the game, I couldn't name them all, but seeing Kaner score two goals, taking home a puck, and having Chelsea Dagger blast after the win will be my favorite memories from the evening.
After the game, I joined some buddies in Wrigleyville to continue the celebrations, which went most of the night. When the DJ played Chelsea Dagger later in the evening, the whole bar erupted. Dark sunglasses and Advil were definitely close by my side on Sunday.
After the next (hopefully) 60 minutes of hockey, we’ll get to see Tazer lift the Cup again, and the 30 hour commute back to Australia won’t seem so bad. Because it’s the Cup.
Subscribe to "Hawk Crazy" for exclusive Blackhawks game photos, news, and commentary by just entering your email below. No spam mail, opt out at any time.