CHICAGO – Andrew Shaw was told he wasn’t big enough, fast enough or skilled enough to play in the NHL.
But, after ten seasons, over 500 games and two Stanley Cups, the 5’ 11″ Canadian kid carved out quite the career.
“Maybe people saying all those things put a chip on my shoulder and made me wan to prove them wrong, but the reason I think I eventually made it was because of love of the game. The passion I brought to the game, how competitive I am as a person – all that’s more important than skill.”
“His energy and his excitement and his personality was fun to be around,” noted Blackhawks president of hockey operations Stan Bowman. “It was something that our group needed. It was kind of the perfect marriage when he got to our team those early years.”
After his latest concussion in February, it was time for Shaw to put his health first.
“Listening to doctors for once in my life, we finally made the decision that it would be best for me to step away from the game because there’s no way I can change the way I play. I just couldn’t keep putting myself in vulnerable situations.”
The memory Shaw holds most dear?
“Sitting in the locker room with the guys. That’s the stuff you guys don’t see, the fans don’t see. The brotherhood and how we razz each other every day – me being one of the one’s razzing most people – I’m going to miss that. I hope my wife has thick skin because I’m probably going to be coming after her.”
The 29-year-old says he can see himself working for the Blackhawks in the future as fans praised his career on social media.
“I’m getting lots of love. It feels great. I don’t know if they are trying to make me cry or not, but I want to thank everyone who took a 20-year-old mutt and gave him a home. Made me feel right at home here. Everyone was very kind. Chicagoans are the best people – welcoming, caring, loving, supportive. I’m going to miss the blue-collar mentality that this city has.”