Last night the Chicago Blackhawks lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961. The organization went from a bottom dweller to champions in just a few short years. With this victory, Blackhawks fans and ex-players everywhere are rejoicing after 49 years without the greatest trophy in sports. None more than Jeremy Roenick, at least publicly.
Jeremy Roenick had a great NHL career that ended with San Jose last year after they were bumped from the playoffs. He was known for his hard nose tough play and antagonizing style. He once put his own jaw back in place after taking a vicious hit from the punishing Darian Hatcher. He played for a multitude of NHL teams, but apparently his 8 years playing in Chicago was extra special to him. After all, he was only the 3rd Blackhawks player to reach 50 goals in a season.
After he officially retired, and to the dismay of US hockey fans, Roenick went into broadcasting. We got the pleasure of watching him butcher the US Olympic hockey broadcasts, stumbling and bumbling through his comments. Then we were treated to his substandard analysis on the NBC Stanley Cup broadcasts. He acts more like a fan than a professional broadcaster, like he won a lottery to be invited up to the booth.
Towards the end of the Game 6 broadcast on NBC Roenick told a heartfelt story about a kid that was in the tunnel crying after the 1992 Blackhawks’ loss in game 4 at Chicago Stadium. He said, “You waited 18 years…I hope you have a big smile on your face”. Dan Patrick then pointed out that Roenick was emotional and prodded him further by asking the dagger question, “why are you emotional?”. With a whimper Roenick replied, “Um…it’s the Chicago Blackhawks man. I didn’t get to do that.” And then the tears flowed, and he was seemingly unable to speak for the next few minutes. Mike Milbury consoled him, but you could see he was holding back his laughter.
Thank you to the NBC technical team that kept the camera on Roenick’s sniffling face! This is an instant classic and should be a You Tube sensation. It can be found under the title “Jeremy Roenick is a Crybaby”. Hopefully this goes viral and Americans start paying attention to hockey.
How pathetic is it that a crying ex-player, and probable future Hall of Famer (Flamer?), is the thing that I hope will bring new NHL fans to the table? Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on a fantastic season!