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CHICAGO – This is been a bit of an unusual time for a man used to playing or preparing to play the game of hockey, forcing this ten-year veteran of the NHL to look for other things to occupy his time.

That’s not a bad thing for Andrew Shaw.

“I spend all my time with my kids and my wife, especially being in Ontario up in Canada where everything is locked down. I love it, I enjoy it, making them smile, laugh, play, and just teaching them life skills,” said Shaw of life after his retirement in 2021. “I’ve gotten into cooking a lot, so my daughter loves to help me cook. It’s fun, I’m happy where I am.”

On Thursday the Blackhawks’ forward will return to the place in which he had his best professional memories as a player. Before the game with the Canadiens at the United Center, the team will salute Shaw for his contributions over seven seasons with the franchise.

It comes on a fitting night since the forward spent three seasons in Montreal after his trade from the Blackhawks following the 2015-2016 NHL season. It comes about a year after multiple concussions forced Shaw to retire from the NHL at just 29-years old.

That reality is something that he believe’s will hit when he arrives at the United Center on Thursday to a venue he called home for the better part of a decade.

“I’m sure it will be a roller coaster of emotion, excitement, happiness, even a little sad,” said Shaw when asked bout his emotions ahead of Thursday. “You get ten great years out of hockey, playing in the NHL for two great organizations, winning two Stanley Cups; not all being taken from you but not being able to do that, it will be emotional.”

He’ll reflect on his decade in hockey in which he played in 544 games, 362 coming as a member of the Blackhawks, including 67 in the playoffs. Shaw had 75 goals and 76 assists in the regular season and 16 scores and 19 helpings in the postseason, including scoring five goals in each Stanley Cup title run in 2013 and 2015.

Those memories along with the fans will be top of mind as the forward steps in front of the fans whom he became popular because of his play in Chicago.

“I look forward to it,” said Shaw. “I know I’ve had some amazing support from the fans in the City of Chicago and I appreciate that. They gave a small kid from the middle of nowhere a second home and made me feel very welcome.

“So tomorrow will be special.”

As Shaw steps away from his new life for a bit to reminisce about his former profession.