The 35-pound silver trophy was somewhere else, being passed around by front-office types in suits, along with their friends and family. His other prize was sitting on a carpet on the other end of the rink. Duncan Keith had a more treasured prize in his arm, a few pounds lighter than the Stanley Cup or the Conn Smythe Trophy— his 2-year-old son, Colton. With the little boy latched to his right side, working on a bottle of lemon-lime Gatorade, Keith pointed up to the scoreboard high overhead, which had a live shot of the two of them.

Duncan Keith and Son“That’s you!” Keith said, in a high-pitched, doting voice far from the deadpan monotone fans and reporters have become familiar with. “Look! That’s you!”

All around him on the United Center ice, it was fathers and sons. Fathers and daughters. Husbands and wives. Niklas Hjalmarsson toted his kid around and did bilingual interviews. Daniel Carcillo plopped his son in the bowl of the most famous trophy in sports. Kris Versteeg gleefully held his two-week-old boy, enormous blue headphones dwarfing his face. The friends and families of Clint Reif and Steve Montador were there, too, greeted warmly and emotionally by men in the throes of wild celebration.

In 2010, the Hawks were brash kids, winning a championship on skill and youthful oblivion. In 2013, they grew into proper champions, men with full beards and indomitable resolve. In 2015, they grew into legends, three-time Stanley Cup champions, the authors of an unthinkable story of success in an era designed to prevent it.

 

Excerpt from: Chicago Sun-Times