Chicago Blackhawks: An Open Letter to Andrew Shaw

Samantha HoffmannCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 05:  Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks fights Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers during their game on January 5, 2012 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Andrew Shaw is a 2011 draft pick currently playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. He has amassed an amazing four goals in seven games so far this season.


Dear Andrew Shaw,

I cannot believe how far you have come.

I remember watching the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and seeing your name called during the fifth round. Initially, I thought nothing of your drafting, and this is something I sincerely regret.

A couple months later, I attended the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp. Though I did not attend the scrimmage when you and Dylan Olsen fought, your willingness to fight despite his having four inches and 35 pounds on you impressed me.

Watching the practice, your puck handling skills and speed dazzled both my mother and I. You always finished your checks, even though most of the other prospects had a size advantage over you.

When you first donned that No. 65 Blackhawks jersey for real this season, I was ecstatic. Finally, the rest of the hockey world would get to experience the great hockey mind that you have.

In your first game, your second shift, you even got in a fight with Zac Rinaldo of the Philadelphia Flyers. Even though you lost, you had your jersey repaired and your cuts stitched, and got right back into the game. This really earned my respect, because even though you are one of the smallest guys in the league, you are not afraid to stand up for both yourself and your team. This fight provided a much-needed energy boost to the team.

After your fight, I was afraid that you would not use the great stick-handling and hockey smarts that I had seen in prospect camp. It brought a great smile to my face when you registered your first goal later that night against Philadelphia, as has every goal since then.

Captain Jonathan Toews even praised you after that game, 

“Andrew made things happen right off the bat,” Toews said. “It’s natural for anyone even the skilled players when they play their first game like that to go out and just be out of sync.

“It seemed liked he was in the right place. Andrew was doing the right things. He was chipping pucks in the right spots. It was a huge confidence booster to get that fight and get that goal to get us going.”

You have already earned your place in my heart in the group of hockey players I affectionately refer to as My Guys. I cannot wait to see how much you will progress in your upcoming games and seasons as a Blackhawk. 

Looking back, I cannot believe that you had been passed over in two previous NHL drafts, and that it took until the fifth round of your third draft for you to finally be drafted. You have been such a great surprise. The fact that someone of your skill could have been drafted this late should not have happened, but it did.

Maybe the extra waiting helped transform you into the determined hockey player you are now; maybe it was because of the extra years you spent in the OHL. Nevertheless, I am happy that we are the team that ended up with you, because you are such a phenomenal and entertaining player to watch.

Always on your side,

Samantha Hoffmann