06/10/2010 9:06 AM
Article By: Mike PeckIn just three short seasons as the American Hockey League affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, former Rockford IceHogs skaters have helped the parent club notch a Stanley Cup Championship.
Ten former IceHogs skaters had a hand in Chicago’s first Championship run in 49 years, including Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland, Nick Boynton, Troy Brouwer, Dustin Byfuglien, Jordan Hendry, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Colin Fraser, Antti Niemi and Kris Versteeg.
In addition to the above ten players who appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Blackhawks, former IceHogs Corey Crawford, Jake Dowell and Jack Skille all played with Chicago during the regular season in 2009-10.
The Blackhawks bring the Stanley Cup back to Chicago for the first time since 1961, ending the longest championship drought in the NHL.
In the decisive Game 6 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, former IceHogs aided in three of the four Blackhawks goals. Byfuglien tallied his 11th goal of the postseason in the first period when he banged home a power-play goal to get things started for Chicago.
Bolland set up Patrick Sharp for Chicago’s second goal in the second period, tying the contest at 2-2 and Hjalmarsson’s point blast was redirected past Michael Leighton by Andrew Ladd later in the middle stanza to give the Hawks a 3-2 advantage.
Niemi was the goalie of record for every postseason game for Chicago and picked up his 16th win of the playoffs Wednesday night after turning away 21 Flyers shots.
Former IceHogs Head Coach Mike Haviland will also get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, serving as the Blackhawks assistant coach. Former IceHogs Equipment Manager Jim Heintzleman is Chicago's assistant manager.
Rockford's first AHL General Manager, Al MacIsaac, is on the Chicago staff as he is the team's Senior Director of Hockey Administration and Assistant to the President.
Current IceHogs Team President Mark Bernard is also a member of the Hockey Operations Department, serving as the Blackhawks General Manager of Minor League Affiliations.