Blackhawks, Maple Leafs ready for Hockey Night in Canada: “It’s an event here”

SHARE Blackhawks, Maple Leafs ready for Hockey Night in Canada: “It’s an event here”

It can be difficult to convey the significance of Hockey Night In Canada to anyone who didn’t grow up north of the border. The Saturday night staple, which can trace its origins back to radio broadcasts in the 1930s and which has been on TV since the 1950s, is an institution in Canada.

It’s so big, that even the guys playing in the games feel the added excitement.

“Hockey Night in Canada is a huge thing up here,” said winger Andrew Shaw, who will be playing on HNIC for the first time in his career tonight as the Blackhawks visit the Toronto Maple Leafs. “Growing up as a kid, you watch it every Saturday with your old man and your brothers. Especially when it’s too cold outside, so you get the fire going and sit and watch some hockey. It’s pretty surreal to be actually playing in one of the games. I”m just excited for the game to start. I know the boys are all excited, as well.”

Shaw grew up in Belleville, Ont., about two hours from Toronto. This is his first game in the city.

“It’s a big deal,” he said. “Hockey Night in Canada is just huge.”

Hawks defenseman Michael Kostka was born right down the road in Etobicoke, but grew up in Ajax, about 45 minutes away. He also played for the Leafs as a rookie last season. Every game in Toronto’s a big deal, but Hockey Night in Canada makes it even bigger.

“It’s an event here,” said Kostka, who’ll be in the lineup tonight and has “a lot” of family and friends coming to the game. “You can even see here at the morning skate, there’s probably 500 people out there watching. It’s a pretty special thing. Any Canadian kid grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada. That’s what was going on on Saturday nights. It’s pretty cool to be a part of it from the other end after being a spectator for so long.”

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville played a season and a half in Toronto early in his career.

“It’s always great to come to Toronto,” he said. “You’ve got Hockey Night in Canada, you’ve got everybody excited about being here, especially the guys from the area. And I’m sure they’re excited about playing us, as well. It’s a game we should be looking forward to playing.”

The Latest
With roughly a week left until the opening NHL roster will be decided, Alec Regula, Alex Vlasic and Isaak Phillips remain on the bubble, fighting for likely two open spots.
Fritz Pollard was the first Black head coach in the NFL, one of the first two Black players in the NFL, the first Black football player at Brown University and the first Black player in the Rose Bowl.
Ryan Hilinski’s TD pass to Jacob Gill was NU’s only score
Heyward delivered the lineup card and was treated to a one-minute video in the middle of the fourth inning
Team wins sixth straight game, but Ross warns late-season success not a guarantee of 2023 success