Happy Friday! We’re another week closer to the start of Blackhawks training camp and the eventual start of the 2022-23 regular season. While there isn’t much going on in Blackhawks land these days, I did shoot an 87 on the golf course yesterday. Oh, and we got to speak with new Blackhawk Max Domi, who had some exciting things to say about new head coach Luke Richardson.
- The Max Domi signing in a vacuum doesn’t move the needle much for Blackhawks fans, especially since the team is looking to tank this season. Still, they do need bodies on the ice, and at one year, $3 million, Domi seems like a great fit, especially after listening to him speak about his decision to come to Chicago.
- In his first meeting with the Chicago media on Thursday, Domi told us that the opportunity to play with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews was a key factor in his decision to come to Chicago. Domi spent his high school years watching Kane and Toews win multiple Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks.
- Domi now gets to skate with two of his childhood favorites, but it was what he had to say about new Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson that had me excited.
- Domi played for Richardson for two seasons while Richardson was an assistant under Claude Julien’s staff in Montreal. Domi said that when the Blackhawks hired Richardson, his decision to come to Chicago was made.
- The veteran forward explained why he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Richardson, calling him one of the most respected coaches in hockey and “one of those guys you’re excited to go to battle for every night.”
- Hearing things like this about Richardson are exciting. Here’s why:
- 1) The respect that Richardson shows his players, the example he sets, and the work ethic that he instills will all be critical components in the development of the waves of young Blackhawks prospects that will be under his tutelage in Chicago.
- 2) When the time comes for the Blackhawks to dip their toes back into the deep end of the free agency pool and add big-time talent that can be the finishing touches on the eventual roster, like, say, a Marian Hossa-type signing, having a head coach that is respected by players around the NHL that will want to come to play for him is a huge bargaining tool for Kyle Davidson and the Blackhawks.
- I know Blackhawks fans are having trouble finding things to be excited about these days. Still, Domi’s evaluation of Richardson and his confidence that other stars in the NHL feel the same way (Domi mentioned Shea Weber and Carey Price by name) is a sterling review of the new head coach, who Domi says was hired by an original six franchise “by no mistake.”
- In other NHL news, the San Jose Sharks will retire Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 on February 25 when the Blackhawks are in town. Marleau played 21 seasons with the Sharks and 23 in the NHL. Marleau logged 1,197 points (566 goals, 631 assists) during his two-decade-plus NHL career.
- The NHL will get a New Jersey supplier after their contract with Adidas expires after the 2023-24 season.
- Adidas took over the NHL jersey manufacturing after its deal with Reebok expired ahead of the 2017-18 season, and Adidas will not look to extend its original seven-year deal. Here’s a statement from the NHL:
“The NHL and Adidas look forward to continuing to work closely together over the next two years and to a smooth transition to the new authentic NHL uniform supplier, which will be announced by the NHL at the appropriate time.”
- Nike now holds the rights to the jerseys for MLB, NBA, and NFL, but there’s no word on whether or not they would be interested in taking over the NHL too. There’s early speculation that a hockey equipment company like CCM or Bauer could replace Adidas, and there’s also Fanatics, which has been partnered with the NHL since 2005 and holds the rights to a broad range of NHL apparel and headwear, including replica jerseys, since the 2017-18 season. Fanatics also runs the NHL’s e-commerce retail site and operates on-site retail at numerous NHL events. So, I would consider them an option as well.
- The Rockford IceHogs have moved into a new state-of-the-art office space at 401 E. State Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois.
- They also have a new player announcing on Thursday that they’ve signed forward Morgan Adams-Moisan to a one-year deal.
- Luis was at Bears Training Camp on Thursday, and he has a bunch of things to know for those heading out to Halas Hall today!
- We ❤️ DeMar:
- That’s it for today, have a great weekend!