An Exclusive with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman Part2

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During the 2008 offseason, I had an exclusive in the office of current Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, who was Asst. GM, Hockey Operations at the time. Stan was born in Montreal where his father Scotty Bowman, the all-time winningest head coach in NHL history, was coaching at the time. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation; including many statements that have indeed come to fruition today.

By Paul M. Banks

PMB: Rookie of the Year Patrick Kane lived with you during his first season…

SB: He lived in my house. I grew up in Buffalo and he grew up in Buffalo, and our families knew each other. My father had met him a few times. He’s been a phenomenon in Buffalo for a long time, and Buffalo is a pretty small town when you’re a player of that ability. So he came to training camp and decided that he didn’t want to tackle living in another city by himself and his first NHL season all in the same year.

So he talked to some people, had some people lined up, but then when it came right down to it, I offered and said why don’t you try living with us for awhile and see how it goes. He had his own room down in the basement all to himself; and it worked out well because he didn’t have to worry too much about anything other than hockey. Living by yourself in a big city is a huge challenge because he’s just a kid. He wanted to be able to focus only on hockey in his first year: first on making the team and then on becoming an effective player. That’s how it worked out, and it worked out well for the both of us.

PMB: Kind of like a standard issue, typical minor league baseball host family

SB: It’s a good way to do it. It’s a good way for these kids to ease their way into it. It’s a big transition playing the NHL and also for him coming from Buffalo and then London, Ontario to here. Sure he was a hero in London, but that’s a real small town compared to a big city like Chicago; and you gotta remember he’s just a kid, he’s just 18 years old. And there’s a lot of pressure being in the NHL, let alone trying to do it in a city like Chicago all on your own, and I think it helped the transition.

TSB: Tell me about Rookie of the Year third place finisher Jonathan Toews and how you see him developing, especially in relation to Rookie of the Year award winner Patrick Kane.

SB: Toews missed a month of the season with an injury. I think if he had been healthy all year, then you could have just flipped a coin as to who could have won the award. They’re different players, but they’re both dynamic players. Jonathan is a big strong 19 year old kid who came in and was quickly one of our most effective, if not the most reliable and effective guy. The coaches had faith in his ability to play in all situations, and his injury is the only reason he would not be right there with Patrick.

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TSB: So tell me more about the first annual Blackhawks fan convention

SB: In hockey no team has ever done it before. Just from the reception we’ve gotten from it, it sold out so quickly and lots of people wanting tickets and people wanting to come see it, it’s going to be good for our fans to get out there and see past legends come back and current players too. We’ve got different events planned, breakout sessions, autograph sessions, questions and answers, a good setup for everybody. It’s similar in style and format to the Cubs Convention. Obviously John McDonough is the man who pioneered the concept back in the early 80s, and it’s taken off to the point where it’s a big event and that’s where the hockey one is going too.

Look for Part Three, featuring Bowman’s insights from Media Day on Saturday. For part one click here

Comments

  1. The Statue of Harold Baines says

    GO HAWKS! I love the Ice Crew! especially Adrienne

  2. Ghost in the Machine says

    If the Hawks can get through the end of Feb in the top 8, I’ll guaran-damn-tee a playoff spot. Can’t wait for October. Sox and Hawks!

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