Blackhawks fans will have a special treat when they open the latest issue of Michigan Avenue Magazine this month. Coming off their second Stanley Cup win in four seasons, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane open up about their latest victory, the role Chicago fans have played in their success, as they gear up for the new season.
What does playing for Chicago mean to you?
Patrick Kane I keep saying that it’s the best city in America. It’s the fans—when you’re winning and doing well, they really jump on your back and push you forward, and they’ve been huge to both of our Cup wins. You couldn’t ask for a better city to live in; the support is huge.
Patrick Sharp Like Kane said, it’s a great city. I’ve been here for nine years now, and I’ve seen both sides. In 2005–2006, we didn’t get too many fans, but now to see the fan base and the support we get for every game, whether it’s a preseason game or a play-off game—it gets you excited to play all the time in Chicago.
How is the latest Cup victory different from 2010?
Patrick Sharp You try to soak everything in and really enjoy the experience of winning, but it all just seems like a blur to be honest with you. I think our team was under a little more scrutiny from the year before, with getting eliminated in the first round, so it was nice to be able to go all the way and win it again. I don’t want to say everyone (get) off our back, but I realize there are high expectations. We’re lucky what we have in Chicago with our players, our management, our core guys who are still there— maybe we can make this an ongoing thing and keep (winning).
Patrick Kane The difference between the two Cups to me is the first time everything is new—(you’re) living and dying, and with every goal and every win there’s a lot of excitement knowing how close you are to finally winning it. The second time going through it’s still exciting, but there’s more focus on the process, knowing how much hard work you have to put in. But winning never gets old, and it has felt great both times.
What are you looking forward to in the coming season?
Patrick Sharp A couple of things: It’s always fun to get back to the start of the season and see the guys again; and honestly, the first game at the United Center since we won the Stanley Cup will be fun—raising the banner and the whole ceremony that goes with it is something I’m really looking forward to.
Patrick Kane Sometimes you look too far ahead, and you plan certain goals, and things don’t go as well for you. I’m just going to try to enjoy the process this year and soak everything in, but at the same time I think we have a group that’s not satisfied and will keep trying to win games. You always want to get off to a hot start personally, and hopefully the team does the same thing.
What have you enjoyed most about your professional hockey career?
Patrick Kane The two Stanley Cups. It’s an unbelievable honor, just to celebrate not only yourself but the team that’s worked so hard to achieve it. Having the Cup (myself) for two days with the last time and now this year, you see the attention it attracts and how much more popular that trophy is even than yourself. It really gives you perspective about what an incredible award it is, and it makes you want to keep winning it.
Patrick Sharp I just appreciate the day-to-day lifestyle of being a pro hockey player. It’s fun to wake up every day and spend time with 25 other guys who are your best friends, and you can laugh and joke and goof around. There’s also the competitive side of it; it’s fun to compete against other teams and leagues—it’s something Kaner and I have wanted to do our whole lives, to play the game professionally, and to be able to do that still is a pretty cool thing.
Read the entire interview here.