EDMONTON – It’s a tough moment, even if it’s one that he wanted for family reasons.
Duncan Keith wanted to be closer to his son Colton, who lives in Penticton, British Columbia and mentioned that often during his introductory news conference through the Oilers, who acquired him on Monday in a trade with the Blackhawks.
Due to restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2021 season, meetings with Colton were few and far between.
“The hardest part for me was not seeing my son. I can deal without going to restaurants and things like that. I like to be around people. I like to enjoy being around the camaraderie of my teammates, my family, and friends,” said Keith. “I was difficult in a lot of ways in that regard, and I think everybody had to deal with that to a certain extent, some guys differently than others.
“For myself, I just know it’s a good feeling knowing that I’ll be able to see my son more frequently.”
Yet the defensemen’s trade away from the Blackhawks brought out some expected emotions out of the three-time All-Star, two-time Norris Trophy winner, and three-time Stanley Cup champion. Keith is right there with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as the most visible members of the team during the 2010s dynasty that was arguably the greatest in the history of the team.
“There’s so many great memories of my time in Chicago, met so many people in my time in Chicago. Met so many great people in Chicago; not even on the team or anything like that. Just people,” said Keith of his 16-year run with the franchise. “It’s a great city. You go through those long playoff runs and you come out on top, there’s no better feeling.”
“That’s the goal here going to Edmonton, and I guess life rolls on. It’s tough to leave Chicago. I’ve been there for 16 seasons, I was drafted there. It’s a great organization. We were always treated first class as players and was really a part of a transformation of that team. I just feel grateful to be a part of it.”
Yet as he leaves Chicago, he did make sure to salute the fans that supported himself and the team so well during his time with the Blackhawks. He saved that for a post to his social media accounts late Monday night.
On the post, Keith wrote this to the fans:
“It’s hard to put into words how much the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago have meant to me. From the day I was first drafted to the Hawks, in 2002, I just wanted to make the team. As the years rolled on, the goals became bigger and bigger. I’m grateful for the past 16 seasons to have worn the Blackhawk jersey. I was fortunate to play with many amazing teammates that became like brothers to me. I will always cherish the memories we had as a team, the highs and the lows. It’s been an incredible run. I’m sad it’s come to an end but being closer to my son Colton and my family is exciting. Chicago and the Blackhawks organization will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to the Wirtz family for the opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you to Stan Bowman and the rest of the management team and front office for believing in me. Thank you to all my coaches I had the privilege of playing for and learning from over the years. Thank you to my amazing teammates for the memories, friendships and always pushing me to be at my best. Thank you to Troy and Jimmy and all the equipment trainers for putting up with me and keeping my skates just the way I like them. Thank you to the medical team led by Mike Gapski and Dr. Terry for keeping me healthy over the years. Lastly, Thank you to the Blackhawk fans and people of Chicago for your unwavering support of myself and the team. I look forward to continuing to grow my charity Keith Relief in Chicago and helping families in and around the city.”
It’s the start of a new era for the defenseman, one that takes him closer to his son while leaving another family of teammates and supporters.