When Marian Hossa was drafted into the NHL, Andrew Shaw was 6 years old.
Growing up in Ottawa, Shaw watched Hossa from a young age, noting his speed and strength as he worked to develop his own game. Now here he is, 16 years later joining No. 81 on the ice as the Blackhawks honored him for his 1,000-game milestone.
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"It's unbelievable," Shaw said after Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. "I sit right near him in the locker room and he's helped me develop my game, he's helped build my confidence and let me know what I can do better and what I should do in different situations. He's an unbelievable guy."
Prior to the start of Tuesday's game, the Blackhawks aired a special tribute video, highlighting some of the biggest moments in Hossa's career. His teammates couldn't have been prouder of his accomplishments.
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"I was all smiles. You could tell how excited he was and how proud his family was," Shaw said. "You could just see how much the fans love him, especially when they started that [Hossa] chant. I just got shivers down my back."
"It was really cool to see," Jonathan Toews added. "We all know how special a player he is, I couldn't be happier for a guy like that when you know how good of a friend and a teammate that guy is."
It was an emotional night for Hossa, whose tribute began during warmups as his teammates each wore No. 81 jerseys.
"It took me one or two shifts to get into it again after the ceremony," Hossa said. "But after that I was fine. It was a special night for me, for my family. It was amazing to have my wife and daughter right there with me at the ceremony. It was a nice, warm welcome by the fans and I enjoyed it."
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Hossa went on to record the Blackhawks' fourth goal of the game, adding even more excitement to his already special night.
"That was nice [scoring a goal] on a special night like this. To put myself on the board, it was definitely a special moment."