The Chicago Blackhawks have taken part in three outdoor games over the past six seasons, but the fourth outdoor tilt, against the Minnesota Wild in February 2016, will be the first in which legendary Blackhawks will take part in an alumni game.
And if that’s not enough, Chicago’s group of all-timers will face off against a squad composed of Minnesota Wild and Minnesota North Stars alumni in the Stadium Series Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota.
The outdoor tilt between the two alumni squads isn’t lacking star power, either.
For Minnesota’s combined squad, players such as Mike Modano, Neal Broten, Dino Ciccarelli, Dennis Maruk, Basil McRae and Brian Bellows will suit up to represent the North Stars. On the Wild side of things, Jim Dowd, Andrew Brunette, Brad Bombadir, Darby Hendrickson, Antti Laaksonen, Richard Park and Wes Walz will skate in the game as alumni of Minnesota’s current franchise.
Goaltending duties for the Wild’s alumni squad will fall to Gilles Meloche and Don Beaupre, with longtime North Stars netminder Jon Casey suiting up as a defenseman.
Minnesota’s alumni club will be coached by Lou Nanne and broadcaster Tom Reid, who, coincidentally, played for both Chicago and Minnesota during his playing days.
The combination of the two squads makes for more than just a great roster, it gives hope that the jerseys, which have yet to be released, could pay tribute to the State of Hockey’s former franchise, which relocated to become the Dallas Stars in 1993.
As for the Blackhawks, legendary names on the alumni roster include Denis Savard, Jeremy Roenick and Ed Belfour — who, like Casey, will be suiting up as a defenseman and not a goaltender. Goaltending duty for the Blackhawks squad goes to Murray Bannerman and Jimmy Waite, with legendary Chicago netminder Tony Esposito patrolling the bench as a coach. Esposito will be joined behind the bench by Hall of Fame broadcaster Pat Foley.
Among the most interesting names on the alumni roster for the Blackhawks is Eric Daze, who spent 11 seasons with the Blackhawks but was forced into retirement at 30 due to a chronic back injury. Daze was a star with the Blackhawks, scoring 226 goals and 398 points over his career. He last suited up for Chicago in the team’s home opener of the 2005-06 season. It was his final NHL game.
There are some interesting omissions from the Blackhawks roster, however, as Steve Larmer and Chris Chelios haven’t been listed. While the rosters are subject to change, Larmer and Chelios were premier players with Chicago and neither on the roster are glaring omissions. That said, Chelios is currently a member of the Detroit Red Wings’ coaching staff.
On the Alumni Game release, Eddie Olczyk is also listed as an alumni participant for the Blackhawks, though his name is missing from the current roster.