You wouldn’t know it from this almost empty setting…with snow gently falling on a random Wednesday morning…over this sparsely populated ice rink in Bensenville…that the man taking the ice, Naperville North head coach and former Chicago Blackhawk, Brian Noonan…had played in front of 38,000 people just days before.
“When you get to be 50, you don’t expect to go play in a Stadium Series in front of 30 thousand people. You assume those days are over” Noonan said.
But for one day at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota, it was not over. As alumni from both Chicago and Minnesota made up each team’s roster.
“To be invited back by the Blackhawks, to get to play in a game like this, it ranks as one of the best weekends I’ve had playing hockey” Noonan said.
Drafted in 1983, Noonan played in parts of twelve NHL seasons; seven with the Blackhawks from 1987 to 1994. And at the alumni game; his locker was stationed right next to that of one Chris Chelios, the legendary Blackhawks defenseman.
“A lot of the alumni still live in Illinois, so we still see each other a lot. Tony Esposito, I don’t see much. And Jeremy Roenick, who’s doing TV, I don’t see much. So it was cool to see him” Noon said.
Noonan was part of the trade that sent Tony Amonte from the Rangers to Chicago in New York; where the Boston-born winger won a Stanley Cup. Now that he’s lifted the Cup and played an outdoor game; his next goal…is rebuilding the Huskies Hockey brand.
“We’re getting the team back on the map, getting as many players back out there, you know, I think it’s been a successful year” Noonan said.
In the mean time, he plays hockey every Wednesday morning at The Edge…where you might spot other hockey stars taking the ice with him. Like Steve Maltais, the Chicago Wolves great. So if you need another fix of alumni hockey…you know where to go.
In Bensenville, Charlie Edward for NSW.
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