On this fine date — Aug. 2 — Tony Amonte celebrates his 52nd birthday. So congrats to a Blackhawks legend on another trip around the sun!
Amonte was acquired from the New York Rangers in a deadline deal that made history for the Rangers; Chicago sent Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan to New York for Amonte and Matt Oates. And we all know how Matteau’s last name lives in infamy after scoring a historic goal in the playoffs that year.
But Amonte came to Chicago, put on the No. 10 (before Patrick Sharp), and went to work. He was one of the primary players who kept fans in their seats in the late-1990s, scoring at least 31 goals in six straight seasons for the Blackhawks (1995-2001) and posted a career-best 84 points during the 1999-00 season.
Many of us remember Amonte for his speed on the ice — and his flowing, gorgeous mullet flapping out of the back of his bucket like Superman’s cape as he flew up the ice. He was a lethal scorer who lit up the scoreboard at the United Center when it was brand new. In time, he became a fan favorite even through the departures of other greats like Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour, and Chris Chelios.
Nine of Amonte’s 15 seasons in the NHL were spent representing the Blackhawks. He appeared in 627 games, scoring 268 goals with 273 assists. For two seasons (2000-02), he served as the Blackhawks’ captain, eventually being replaced by Alexei Zhamnov when he left as a free agent and signed with the Coyotes in 2002.
Today, Amonte’s 268 goals for the Blackhawks rank eighth in franchise history — one better than his good friend Roenick. His 68 power play goals rank ninth in franchise history. And his six hat tricks are tied with Jonathan Toews (among others) for eighth in Blackhawks’ history.
He appeared in five All-Star Games with the Blackhawks and represented the United States in the World Cup of Hockey in 1996, helping the US win the gold medal. He also appeared in the 2022 Olympics, just before leaving for the Coyotes.
Amonte was elected to the US Hockey Hall Of Fame in 2009. And, on January 21, 2009, the Blackhawks celebrated “Tony Amonte Heritage Night” at the United Center.
With not much else going on in Blackhawks-land right now in early August, it’s worth taking a minute to appreciate the impact of Amonte’s career in Chicago. He was terrific in his nine seasons with the Blackhawks.