Meeting Hawk Fan Favorite Andrew Shaw For First Time In Rockford
The very first time I met Chicago Blackhawks fan favorite, Andrew Shaw, was while he played for the Rockford IceHogs.
I have been a big Rockford IceHogs fan from the beginning. I was lucky enough to work for the team for several years. Through time, many of the players have been on my show.
When the team became affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, that was a really big deal. It was right at the beginning of the three-time Stanley Cup Championship run. Several members from those epic teams came through Rockford. One of the most memorable was Andrew Shaw.
Seeing Andrew Shaw Play In Rockford
I remember noticing Shaw for the first time. I was working on an IceHogs game. I was the in-game host, so during time-outs and intermission, I interacted with fans with contests and games. I was waiting for my next promotion and I was sitting with the next contestant right by the glass.
Andrew said something that must have been upsetting to an opposing player because he took his stick and hit Shaw in the back of his legs. That player got a penalty and the Hogs got a powerplay goal.
I knew right away the fans in Rockford and in Chicago, if he ever got a chance to play there, would love him. They call players like that a rat. They get under the skin of the other team. You hate that kind of person on another team but love him on yours.
Meeting Andrew Shaw
I immediately told the team that I needed to have Shaw on my radio show. The following week he was a guest. At the time, he was a rookie and did not even have a car. A team intern had to give him a ride to the station. He was a really nice kid and a fun interview.
Andrew Shaw's Amazing Story
When someone plays for the Rockford IceHogs, there are a couple of different types of contracts they can sign. One is just solely with the team. They can also have a two-way deal which means they can play in Rockford or for the Chicago Blackhawks. When Andrew came in for the interview, he was only signed with the IceHogs.
After leaving my show, he went down to the BMO Harris Bank Center for practice. Right before he hit the ice, he was signed to a two-way deal with the Blackhawks. That makes it much easier to get called up to the NHL but there are no guarantees. That was January 3rd, 2012.
The next day, Andrew Shaw was called up to the Chicago Blackhawks. There was no promise that he would actually play in a game but it was still a great opportunity.
On January 5th, the Hawks had a game in Philadelphia. It would be a huge debut for the former Rockford IceHogs. Not only did he dress for the game but he also started. In the game, Shaw would score his first NHL goal and get into his first NHL fight. Not a bad first game.
I like to think it was the luck I gave him from being on my show.
Big Thanks To Andrew Shaw
Andrew announced his retirement from hockey today. Concussions have finally caught up with him. He wasn't Patrick Kane but he was still very fun to watch play the game. He wasn't a big guy but not afraid to get physical. That's why he was a fan favorite in Rockford and Chicago.
There have been many former Rockford IceHogs that got their chance in Chicago but not many had an NHL debut like Shaw. Same with guests on my show. When he walked out of my studio, his life forever changed.
Thanks for the memories, Andrew.
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