Thank You, Blackhawks

Bartl, fiance Nichole and Pops following the Game 6 victory… between many rounds of beers.

“Now break their hearts. Score again, and break their fucking hearts.”

I wasn’t deep into celebrating Bryan Bickell’s tying goal with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining, when my father uttered those words with such conviction that I actually became frightened. He clapped a few times, raised his hands, then went right back into business mode.

“Do it again and break their fucking hearts.”

See, my dad isn’t one to offer up such passion when it comes to sports. He knew his only son’s sanity rode on the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final, and that’s really the only reason he came to peace with his inevitable hangover and joined me at a local establishment.

It’s also the only reason he cared at all. The Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup doesn’t enhance his life any, but it brings such joy to his kid that his enthusiasm shot past obligation and into a genuine state of jubilation. He just couldn’t help himself.

Dave Bolland’s goal just 17 seconds after Bickell’s equalizer brought out a side in my father that I hadn’t seen. He was next to me when Patrick Kane scored in overtime to give the ‘Hawks the 2010 Cup, but he was more just excited to see me happy. Monday brought much more pure emotion.

“You’re going to be telling your kids, even your grand-kids, about what happened tonight.”

And he’s right. You don’t instinctively think about those things in the moments immediately following such an improbable comeback, but that’s precisely what I’ll be doing. It was the kind of night that created memories for generations to share. From the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory in less than two minutes. How do you forget something like that?

The 2013 Blackhawks will leave us with many lasting moments. The 24-game point streak to start the season. The comeback against Detroit, capped by Brent Seabrook’s OT winner in Game 7. Kane’s goal in the second OT to clinch the Western Conference title. The triple-overtime marathon in Game 1 of the Cup Final.

And the fitting come-from-behind victory in Game 6 from a Blackhawks team that refused to give up – no matter how many people seemed to quit on them.

The ‘Hawks shattered the hearts of Bruins fans just as my father demanded. And even though I may feel a bit of sympathy since I couldn’t imagine losing such a competitive, emotionally draining series, the result of their misery created a moment I’ll speak of for as long as I live.

I just hope everyone feels as lucky as I do to say that.

Thank you, Blackhawks.


I watched the last 2 minutes about ten times. The first time I was in shock. Actually I was sweating it out since the Lucic goal stressing about a game 7. Then when Bicks tied it I went crazy but immediately starting stressing about OT. I just couldn't believe when Bollie scored. And then it was a shock to my system as I realized no more hockey when I was thinking about a game 7 and even OT. I know I slung like I'm never happy....but I'm ecstatic about winning! And really enjoyed every time I rewatched to see things I missed before like reactions of fans and bruins players. Poor Jagr. I really enjoyed reading your blog. And that story about your Dad was awesome.


I know how you feel. I watched all but 4 games this season and I root for hawks since 1992. I love the Hawks! I live in Slovakia.