About 20 years ago, a young forward by the name of Corey Crawford was playing novice hockey when two things caught his eye: "(Goaltender Patrick) Roy was one of them. I just loved the pads too. All the kids, they just love wearing the gear, they think it looks cool."
It was at the age of nine that Crawford decided he wanted to play between pipes. Fast-forward to today, and now Crawford is returning home to Montreal with the Blackhawks to face the team he cheered for throughout his childhood.
Prior to Saturday's game against the Canadiens, Crawford talked about Roy and how he influenced his career.
"(Roy) was definitely the main influence for me switching from being a player," Crawford told the media. "He was the man back in the day, he was the guy. I think every young Quebecer who grew up around Montreal idolized him a lot. He was definitely a huge influence on a lot of kids."
Crawford will get the start for the Blackhawks in Montreal, and there won't be a shortage of fans there to cheer him on.
"There will definitely be a lot of people there, friends and family," he said. "It's always a special game when we play there, last time was really fun. I was a little nervous last time we played but I think playing there once before will help me this time."
The last few games haven't been the Blackhawks' best, as they've earned just four of a possible eight points in their last four matchups.
The Blackhawks have made a few line adjustments since Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers, and they hope those changes, as well as a strong hometown performance from Crawford, will turn things around.
"He knows firsthand just how big or important that is," coach Joel Quenneville said of Crawford. "Being from home I think it adds a little spice to him as well, one he should be excited about playing in front of family and friends. It'll be a good test and for him and us as well but I'm sure he's had this game pointed out for some time."
Crawford appeared very excited for Saturday's game, smiling as he recalled his childhood memories of switching from forward to goaltender. Now he'll lead the Blackhawks onto the ice in the city where his passion for hockey all began.
"I think one of the first times I got hit with a hard shot I was like 'ahh, I don't know if I want to do this anymore,'" Crawford joked at the Blackhawks' skate. "But it was definitely fun growing up and making that switch."