Since 2008, those are the two words the 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 – that culminated in two NHL championships, first 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 the team had built 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 regular season.
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.
Fans checked off the final win Monday when the Hawks clinched the cup with a thrilling victory, going from being down 2-1 with 1 minute 30 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 Hawks are a rarity. Not since the Bulls of the 1990s have we had a team we felt privileged to get behind, and believed that faith would be rewarded with multiple championships.
One goal – accomplished twice.
Congratulations to the Hawks and their fans.