Since 2008, those are the two words the Chicago Blackhawks have used to inspire the team – and the team’s growing fan base – to believe that they could bring home the holy grail that is the Stanley Cup.
And it worked. The feats the team has accomplished in the past five years are amazing – led by core players Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp and backed up by every other player on the roster – and have culminated in two Stanley Cup wins, one in 2010, and the other only two days ago after a ferocious six-game battle against the Boston Bruins.
The abbreviated season this year – due to a lockout during contentious contract negotiations – led to fear that the goodwill built toward the team would wane.
But this season was spectacular. The team stormed to a 24-game start without a loss in regulation, leading to winning the President’s Trophy for having the most points in the regular season.
And for the past eight weeks, fans have counted down each hard-fought win during the playoffs as the Hawks won the 16 games needed to clinch the Cup. They celebrated the team rallying back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Detroit Red Wings in the second round of the playoffs and dethroning defending Stanley Cup champs, the Los Angeles Kings.
And they checked off the final win Monday when the Hawks were awarded the Cup after a thrilling victory, going from being down 2-1 with 120 seconds remaining in the game to winning 3-2 with two goals in only 17 seconds – winning by “one goal.”
For Chicago-area sports fans, the Blackhawks are a rarity. Not since the Bulls in the 1990s have we had a team we felt privileged to get behind, and believed that faith would be rewarded with multiple championships.
Their success is embraced and rejoiced about throughout the area, evidenced by the more than 200 consecutive sellout games at the United Center to the children who fill local ice rinks to practice passing with the hope that they too may one day hoist the Cup.
One goal – accomplished twice.
Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks.