As part of “Blackhawks Day” at Comcast SportsNet on Friday, featuring Joel Quenneville and select players visiting our CSN studios and being a part of SportsTalk Live and the 6:30 SportsNet Central, the day of programming begins at 12:30 p.m. with the debut of “Inside Look: Stan Bowman.”
When we sat down during the Blackhawks Convention for this interview, the visit confirmed what a lot of us already knew about the two-time Stanley Cup-winning vice president and general manager. He’s much more than just that title.
We begin with his memories of growing up with a legend, his father Scotty, the NHL’s all-time winningest coach. He speaks of being a kid, growing up listening to his dad and his coaching staff dissect games. Some of the pictures Stan shares from his boyhood are priceless. Stan shares memories of what it was like to be coached by his father, though it wasn’t in hockey, and why his personality isn’t in line with Scotty’s, so coaching was never really an option for Stan. But Stan admires his father just as much for how hard he worked at spending time with his family despite the demands of being who he was, and what he did, even when he worked in different cities so the family could remain stable in Buffalo. And Stan also reacts to those who assume his dad is actually the one who runs the Blackhawks in his consultant’s role, and that the only reason he has the job is because of whom he’s related to. His journey to his current job is explained through the route he took from being a cart boy at a department store, to attending Notre Dame, and eventually being hired by one of his predecessors, Mike Smith.
The second segment focuses on beating cancer. Twice. It literally appeared (visually) overnight. The battle seemed tougher for his wife and young children than it seemed for himself, and he relates how that challenge – like fans watching a game – is less nerve-wracking for those fighting the battle than those who can only watch. Through his optimism about his illness, you see how the Blackhawks gm used some of the same thinking about the 2013 team when many observers thought he should tear apart the roster just a year before.
Finally, Stan shares the important role Patrick Kane played through his illness, as a rookie living in his home while his boss was going through a life-and-death situation.
We conclude our visit discussing how the feeling of defeating cancer compares with winning a Stanley Cup, and then the different rewards and feelings between the first and second championships over four years. I ask him if he always has to think down the road about the makeup of his roster, on who likely stays and who likely goes in the midst of the season-long grind.
And finally, he expresses how special his two superstars are, how lucky the city and franchise are to have them, and why 29 other teams are jealous because of them. And why their presence, plus the roster stability, has him excited about the opportunity to become the first NHL team in 16 years to repeat as a Stanley Cup champion.