Chicago Blackhawks send number 81 to the rafters


Colin Crane

Chicago Blackhawks decorate the ice in honor of Marian Hossa. Fans were given bracelets that light up to create a light show while Hossa’s banner is sent to the rafters of the United Center.

Colin Crane and Aras Dambrauskas

Before their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 20, the Chicago Blackhawks held a ceremony honoring Marian Hossa. Hossa played 1,309 career games in the NHL and spent eight of his 20 seasons with the Blackhawks. 

The ceremony was led by former Blackhawks broadcaster, Eddie Olczyk, who was the team’s main broadcaster for 16 seasons. Olczyk was even accompanied by four retired players who were teammates with Hossa. Niklas Hjalmarsson, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were all on the ice to watch their former teammate be honored by their team. Even Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were a part of the ceremony despite their game later that evening. 

Hossa ended the ceremony with a long speech where he gave credit to everyone who was a part of his great career. He had mentioned legendary broadcaster Pat Foley, who racked up 39 seasons with the Blackhawks before retiring last year. He also gave his respect to former Coach Joel Quenneville, better known as Coach Q, who coached Hossa and his teammates and won Chicago another Stanley Cup after a 49 year championship drought. 

Hossa also gave credit to his family, friends and all of his teammates that he had played with during his incredible 20 season long career. Family, friends and players were all given black t-shirts with “81 HOSSA” written across the chest to distinguish them from the regular fans. 

Hossa ended his speech by honoring his former teammates and how they helped him shape his career. He thanked all the players that he won Stanley Cups with and complimented all the players on the ice. 

“Something tells me I’ll be flying back to Chicago to raise a few more of these jerseys,” said Hossa. 

Despite the amazing ceremony, the Blackhawks still couldn’t pull out the win. They went down by three goals and did not score until the second period. The Blackhawks’ first goal was scored by Jujhar Khaira with 10 minutes left in the period. Kane followed with another goal just six minutes after. Philipp Kurashev scored the tying goal for the hawks in the third period, but Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby followed up with a goal just a minute later to make the score 4-3. 

In a desperate attempt to tie the game, Chicago pulled their goalie to put another player on offense, but that plan backfired after Jeff Carter scored for Pittsburgh on the empty net. The game ended with a 5-3 loss for the Blackhawks, which added another game to their losing streak.