There are a number of things that scare hockey fans like nothing else: the NHL Draft, the trade deadline, and triple overtime. However, one thing that may send any hockey fans running to the hills is unexpected announcements like the one the Chicago Blackhawks made on Thursday, Oct. 8. The fan-proclaimed “rebuilding team” took to Twitter yesterday to reveal one of the most heart-wrenching losses they have faced in the last few years (yes, even worse than not making it to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs).
The tweet read, “SVP/GM Stan Bowman announces the #Blackhawks will not re-sign goaltender Corey Crawford. ‘I had a conversation with Corey earlier today and it was an emotional talk.’”.
A thread of the emotionless quote from Stan Bowman ensued, in which he described the Blackhawks commitment to their younger goalies and even referenced that the NHL has been “embracing” youthful goalies as of recent.
As expected, the team’s dedicated fanbase immediately rejected this announcement with mournful messages of love and support for the thirty-five-year-old goalie who had been picked up by Chicago in the 2003 draft. Crawford had inarguably led his team to the Stanley Cup championships both in 2013 and 2015; without him in the net – especially in the last few seasons – it is pretty obvious that the Blackhawks wouldn’t have been able to succeed in the ways that they had.
Of course, Crawford (nicknamed “Crow” by the team and its fans) had his fair share of haters throughout the seasons. Many Blackhawks fans had even ventured to call for his removal earlier on based on his rare poor performances. Paired with the hate-filled chants of “Crawford” from opposing teams’ fans whenever he let a goal get past him, it would not be a stretch to consider him to be one of the most unappreciated goalies of our time.
There was a certain love between Corey Crawford and his teammates that cannot go unnoticed. The memories of post game wins when the entire team would line up at the goal and tap their heads against Crawford’s mask, wrap their arms around him, pat him on the back. The celebration after he shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals and led his team to victory, when his entire team hopped over the bench as he ripped off his gear and they finally tackled him into a hug that pushed him up against the glass, helmets and sticks and gloves all forgotten in the middle of the ice as the losing team skated in disappointment.
Even off the ice, Corey Crawford’s team was constantly supporting him; when Crow got married to his wife, Kristy Muscolino, in 2019, many of his teammates were pictured partying with him at the reception. At the many Halloween parties, there were always pictures of Crawford (hilariously dressed as Drake, his lookalike, in some instances) with captain Jonathan Toews.
Crow has been such a staple of the Chicago Blackhawks that it is going to be an impossible task to see him in any other jersey. According to an official NHL announcement, “Crawford is the franchise’s only goalie to win multiple Stanley Cups (2013,2015) and multiple William M. Jennings Trophies (2012-13, 2014-15) as the netminder with the fewest goals against in the regular season.”.
Corey Crawford finished his thirteenth and final season playing for the Chicago Blackhawks with a .918 regular season save percentage (a very impressive number, if unfamiliar with the numbers), twenty-six shutouts, and even a gold medal for Team Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.