“I am honored and very honored” – Twin Cities

The Chicago Blackhawks will retire Hall of Famer forward Marián Hossa, number 81, next season, the team announced Thursday, shortly after he signed a one-day contract to officially step down as a Hawk.

“It’s amazing,” Hossa told the Tribune. “I’m honored and truly humbled to be in this company … at the United Center in the rafters.”

The Hawks held a signing ceremony in the atrium of the United Center ahead of their 2-0 loss to Seattle Kraken on Thursday.

“For me, the largest free-agent signing in Chicago sports history, Marian was the missing piece of the franchise,” Hawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in a statement. “Both on and off the ice, he left an indelible mark on his teammates and our organization. … His humble demeanor and vaunted work ethic were everything we could have asked for in a superstar when we signed him in 2009. We feel it is only fitting that Marian retires as Blackhawk while he begins a new chapter in his life.”

The past week has been quite a homecoming for Hossa.

On Sunday he reunited with Jonathan Toews – his teammate at three Stanley Cup winners – for Celebration of the Toews’ 1000th gameand they were joined on the ice by Hawks greats, including Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook.

Then came Hossa’s contract resignation ceremony, but the number of resignations came as a surprise. He is the only player in franchise history to wear the number 81.

“I still don’t get it,” Hossa said. “When (Chairman) Rocky (Wirtz) told me the news, I was blown away.

“I expected one thing – to sign my last contract with the Blackhawks so I could retire as a Blackhawk. And then when he announced the other news and withdrew my number, I was blown away, I was speechless and really grateful, humbled. It’s great to end my career like this. I never thought about that.”

During a lull in play on Thursday, Hossa’s news was announced via the video board with a graphic of a banner unfurling to reveal his name and number. Hossa told in-game host Genna Rose, “Being in the rafters here at the United Center next year means so much to me.”

The last Hawks to retire their sweaters were Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson, both of whom wore the No. 3 on November 12, 2008. The others include Glenn Hall (1), Bobby Hull (9), Denis Savard (18). , Stan Mikita (21) and Tony Esposito (35).

The first voting Hall of Famer chatted with the grandstand about the honor and other topics.

1. Hossa credits Chicago with a “great environment.”

Hossa’s 525 goals with five teams in 19 NHL seasons ranks 35th all-time, but his key moments with the Hawks demonstrate the two-way game he became known for.

For example, Hossa was proud of the backchecking that neutralized Dustin Brown’s attempt at forechecking – Brown was flat on his back when the Hawks and Los Angeles Kings met in Game 1 of the 2014 Western Conference finals.

Hossa’s tenure with the Hawks began with two goals against the San Jose Sharks on November 25, 2009, but no goal eclipsed his winning goal in Game 5 of the quarterfinal series against the Nashville Predators. The Hawks won the first of three championships in six years.

“My goal has always been to play to the best possible capacity and I know I had some qualities in me and my game, so I tried to help the team,” said Hossa. “But I never thought of the Hall of Fame, I never thought of being in the rafters with the greats who play at the United Center. But I think I’ve been fortunate to play with the great players that I’ve had, I’ve had successes that we’ve had with the teams throughout my Chicago career.

“They helped me, we helped each other, together we won the championships. This was definitely a big help as to why I was (inducted) into the Hall of Fame (in November) and why I am retiring my jersey. So I thank the team, my players and the coaching staff because I’ve been lucky to be in a great environment.”

2. Hossa explained how #18 became 81.

The winger wore the number 18 for the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers and Pittsburgh Penguins, but switched to 81 for the Detroit Red Wings and Hawks.

“When I started in the National Hockey League as an 18-year-old – that’s why I turned 18 – because I had three options for a number in Ottawa, one of which was 18,” said Slovakian native Stará Ľubovňa. “And I said to myself, ‘This could be a cool start.’ ”

“In Detroit, Kirk Maltby had already won four Stanley Cups, so I didn’t even bother to ask him to change numbers. So I just switched digits and since then I’ve been 81. So good things have happened and 81 was lucky for me in Chicago.

Also, 18 in Chicago is most associated with Hall of Famer Denis Savard.

“Exactly,” said Hossa. “So it worked out fine.”

If Hossa had continued playing after joining the Arizona Coyotes in July 2018, he could have encountered a third clash: No. 81 Phil Kessel, a two-time cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who ended his career with the Coyotes.

“Glad I didn’t play for them when they traded my contract to Arizona because Phil would lose his number,” Hossa said with a smile.

3. As much as Hossa helped the Hawks, Pavel Datsyuk influenced him.

Hossa only spent the 2008-09 season with the Red Wings, but it had an undeniable impact on his career.

“Of course I had the talent to score goals, but then I learned – especially from Detroit, learned so much from Pavel Datsyuk – that helped me become a much better two-way player when it comes to pucks to steal and help the team in that way,” Hossa said.

Like Hossa, Datsyuk was no slouch on offense. So if he could focus on defense and his play off the puck, so could Hossa.

“Datsyuk, he was like (the) magician,” Hossa said. “No one has hands like Datsyuk. (Patrick Kane) got very close to him.

“But Pavel, with the body language on the ice and the style (that he had), he could make the moves.

“But what I wanted to learn from him was backcheck ability, lifting pucks from behind, catching guys unexpectedly, stealing pucks.”

Datsyuk helped Hossa work on his skills after training.

“Then I slowly started learning how to take the pucks away from him and that helped me get better in the games,” Hossa said. “So when I came to Chicago I was primed to get better in that area and I was glad that Jonny (Toews) or Kaner could see me doing it and take something from it and use it in their games.”

4. One of Chicago’s biggest draws to Hossa was…Michael Jordan?

The Hawks as an Original Six franchise appealed to Hossa when he was a free agent in the summer of 2009 — and a $63 million, 12-year deal didn’t hurt — but Chicago’s reputation as a great sports city was a bonus.

“Coming here, I knew that as a little boy I admired Michael Jordan for what he did,” Hossa said of the Chicago Bulls’ six-time NBA champion. “I wasn’t even a basketball fan, but he pulled me in because he was Michael Jordan and I became a basketball fan because of him.

Toni Kukoč, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman made the game fun, he said, and helped him familiarize himself with Chicago.

“There is so much potential in the city to choose different sports and I’m glad we won in 2010 and brought the trophy back to the city,” he said.

5. The Hawks and Hossa are slamming him into a role — if they can pull him away from his grocery store.

“I’m talking to the Blackhawks (about) certain options,” Hossa told the Tribune. “We’re having deeper and deeper conversations. I want to commit to the future and help them in any way.”

Hossa resigned from the game after the 2016/17 season due to eczema, a skin condition, but he was not idle.

He runs a food delivery company in Slovakia called Hossa Family, which employs 250 people and has a fleet of 100 vehicles.

“We have pasta, dumplings, pierogi and stuff like that,” Hossa said. “Also, if you have a restaurant, we can supply you with different types of meat, fish and the like. We can deliver to you.”

It started in 2008 as a 2008 investment in his cousin’s business.

“My focus was solely on hockey. … I told him, ‘I trust you, I don’t want anything to do with this business,'” he said.

But business didn’t go well.

After hockey, “I got a lot more involved, I started making changes,” Hossa said.

“I bought him out and after becoming full owner of the company and making some changes, I’m hiring the right people,” he said. “We’re trying to expand it.”


https://www.twincities.com/2022/04/07/marin-hossa-on-the-chicago-blackhawks-plan-to-retire-his-no-81-im-honored-and-really-humbled/ “I am honored and very honored” – Twin Cities

Jessica MacLeish

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@internetcloning.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button