Saturday, February 28, 2015


Andrew Shaw-The Kid from Ameliasburgh

There was an element of euphoria around the B B & T Centre in Sunrise, Florida before the start of the game last Thursday night. The Chicago Black Hawks were in town to face the Florida Panthers. Earlier in the day, it had been announced that the Panthers had traded the New Jersey Devils a couple of draft picks to land Jaromir Jagr. Jagr will enter the Hall of Fame once he retires, and he may become the most prolific scorer ever, depending on his desire to play more hockey. He did not dress for the game, but remained out of sight in the bowels of the arena.

That state of excitement was quickly diminished once the puck was dropped, for two reasons. More than seventy per cent of the fans at the game began a chant of “Let’s Go Hawks” as the game began. In many sections, seat after seat was occupied by a fan wearing a Hawks’ sweater. Secondly, with just over three minutes gone in the period, Andrew Shaw pasted a Panther defender against the boards in the Panther corner, stole the puck, and fired a perfect centering pass to Teuvo Teravainen. The Finn made no mistake, firing the puck past Roberto Luongo. Game winning goal, before most of the fans had taken their seats.

                                            Great Shaw fans from the Quinte Area

There were many Shaw fans in attendance, which one could tell by the number of folks who had shelled out their hard-earned dollars for the Black Hawk red sweater. I spoke with two of them between the first and second periods. “He is my favourite player,” Phil Harvey told me as he scooped up his fries and pop. “He never quits, always works so hard.” Lee Deller, also a fan from the windy city, seconded the motion. “Shaw is such a scrappy player. We love his determination.”

                                              Steve and Jodi Knack, with Andrew Shaw

After the game, Jody and Steve Knack, also from Chicago, had a chance to meet with the kid from Ameliasburgh.“It is such a thrill to meet some of these guys in person,” Jody stated. “We never get a chance like this to see the players up close. This is a moment we will remember forever.”

The Shaw contingent was bolstered by a large group of fans from the Quinte area, roughly ten percent of the population of Metro Tweed. Doug and Darlene Shaw were also on hand, making the event a family affair. It was perfectly evident that Andrew appreciates the support he gets from family and friends, beaming for the twenty odd minutes he had before the bus rolled away. The Hawks had a date in Tampa Friday night. Unfortunately, that did not go as well. They were shut out by the Lightning, 4-0.

 Jonathan Toews, explaining the situation.

When asked about the trade deadline, and how players respond to it, Jonathan Toews was more than tactful, and very polite. He explained that trades were part of the process, and that he could understand why some players were a little anxious at this time of year.

Several of the other Hawk players also enjoyed a moment with friends, and family. Most Northern folk arrive here for the weather, and a great NHL game is treated as a bonus. None of us spent much time scraping our windshields after the game.

The Hawks were pressed at the end of the game as the Panthers pulled Luongo for an extra attacker. With the heat on, Shaw iced the puck with 1:54 left in the game. Coach Joel Quenneville called a timeout, to rest the boys on the ice. A minute later, Saad stole the puck and fed Hossa at centre ice. Hossa deliberately hesitated for several seconds, spotted Toews on the wing, and fed a perfect pass to his captain. Toews made no mistake, firing the puck into the yawning cage.

The Panthers hope to benefit from the Jagr deal this year. They are in the hunt for a playoff spot, and he could be the spark plug to ignite them to that plateau. And then, folks, the other season begins. Anything can, and often does, happen at that point.

James Hurst
February 27, 2015  

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