Another name synonymous with Stanley Cups in Chicago has reached the end of their career, this time in the form of the ultimate underdog: Andrew Shaw.
Citing numerous concussions — including the one he suffered on February 9 against the Stars this season — Shaw said that he was advised to discontinue playing hockey, and that “for once in [his] life, [he is] going to listen.”
Here is part of Shaw’s statement released by the team:
My first game as a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks still sticks out in my mind. In my second shift, I had my first fight in the National Hockey League. I followed that up with my first NHL goal in the second period. From that point on, I knew I had a chance to be this team’s underdog. A player that could represent the city of Chicago’s blue-collar mentality. Be their mutt if you will.
I am extremely proud of what I accomplished in my career, and I want to make it clear; I would not change anything about it. I won two Stanley Cups, made lifelong friends — and some enemies, too — and will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.
I will miss the locker room and my teammates from both Chicago and Montreal. I hope they will miss me too. Though I might have been excessively loud, pulled a prank once or twice and given you a hard time, I always prided myself on keeping the mood light and being the best teammate I could be. It was a pleasure competing with you night in and night out.
Most of all, I will miss the fans. I was lucky enough to play in two of the best hockey cities and fanbases in the world in Chicago and Montreal and I am grateful for my experiences with all of you. I gave everything I had every night for you, and you are the reason this was one of the toughest decisions in my life.
Thank you all for giving a mutt a home, and a chance to live out my dream.
The statement also included comments from Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman, who characterized Shaw as a player who “epitomized energy, determination, grit, and toughness” and always kept his teammates at ease. It’s obvious from the outpouring of tweets from current and past teammates that Shaw was beloved by his teammates and an important person in the locker room.
In addition, the team re-released a feature about Shaw from Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray from 2013 that is a must-read.
"Shaw's a guy who has worked for everything he's gotten, and he's had to earn the respect from his teammates and opponents along the way."— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) April 26, 2021
–#Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray (@muzz19) on Andrew Shaw after the 2013 Stanley Cup win.https://t.co/0FTIu1mBMV
After going undrafted twice, Shaw joined the Blackhawks organization as a fifth-round pick (139th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut on January 5, 2012 in a 5-4 loss to the Flyers, during which he had both the first fight and first goal of his NHL career. Shaw would play in 544 regular season games — 362 with the Blackhawks and 182 with the Canadiens — while tallying 116 goals and 131 assists.
Like many Blackhawks cup winning players who have hung up the skates recently, it was in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that Shaw really became a fan-favorite. He played in 72 postseason games — all but five with the Blackhawks — scoring 16 goals and 19 assists. His most memorable moments are his game-winning “I love shin pads” goal in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final and his “headbutt no-goal” in the 2015 Western Conference Finals.
Shaw played an integral role in two of the three Cup wins, and the image of Shaw lifting the Stanley Cup in 2013 with blood streaming down his face is iconic to the modern age of Blackhawks success.
So thank you, Mutt — you will always have a special place in the hearts of fans.