Daniel Carcillo staying busy by helping out former players and future ones

Daniel Carcillo staying busy by helping out former players and future ones

Daniel Carcillo has plenty keeping him busy these days.

At home, he and his wife are parents to a month-old daughter and a 2 ½-year-old son in the potty-training phase – “it’s man-on-man coverage with my son,” he said. There’s also his Chapter 5 Foundation, which helps athletes transition into life after the game, and the Team Illinois Mission U15 AAA team, which Carcillo coaches.

The former Blackhawks forward, who was part of the NHL’s “Go Beyond” event in Chicago on Thursday, is happy in his personal life and giving back to the game, even if he doesn’t really look at it that way.

“I just enjoy being around those kids. It really helps me to kind of ground myself a little bit after being on the business side of it,” Carcillo said of the U15 team. “[They’re] 14, 15 years old, and it’s so funny to be around those kids and listen to what they have to say and the energy they bring. Being able to help them grow, not only in the game but off the ice as people, to get them to have fun, to be good teammates, that’s what I like to emphasize. The development part of it on the ice is a really big focus, and that’s been a challenge for me, going from player to coach. But it’s been a lot of fun.”

Carcillo retired from the NHL in the fall of 2015. He then focused his attention to his Chapter 5 Foundation, named for former Blackhawks forward and Carcillo’s close friend Steve Montador, who died in February 2015. He said the foundation has helped more players – “we don’t make them public though. If they want to talk about it they’re more than welcome,” he said.

Carcillo says he misses some aspects of his playing days.

“I miss the guys, miss the room. Away from hockey, you’re just trying to recreate that outside-of-the-locker-room atmosphere and it’s a little difficult because everyone’s so far away and so busy during the year. You don’t want to feel like a burden. When guys want to connect with you and need the help or just want to talk, they end up reaching out,” Carcillo said. “With my foundation, it’s not much of a formal process. But one of the biggest things with Chapter 5 is building that community so when guys get out of the game they can lean on other guys in a mentorship type of role.”

As for watching hockey, Carcillo has caught some of this year’s playoffs.

“There are some teams surprising people, but the teams that are being successful right now are working hard, outworking other clubs and taking the will away,” he said. “It’s nice to see that. It’s nice to see guys going to the net hard, getting gritty and trying to take the will of the other team away. That’s what has to happen in a seven-game series. You have to take that other team’s will away.”

The Nashville Predators seemed to do just that to the Blackhawks, who were dismissed in a four-game sweep in April. The Predators are now headed to the Western Conference final after eliminating the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon.

Asked if he was surprised at how the Blackhawks lost, Carcillo said, “nothing surprises me hockey-wise, but I think everyone was taken back, just looking at the season they had. They ran into a hot goaltender and [Predators coach Peter] Laviolette, I was on the 2010 [Philadelphia Flyers] team and he can trap it up with the best of them. It was a perfect recipe for Nashville.”

From helping those players ending their careers to those who hope to have one someday, Carcillo’s contributing plenty. His playing days are done but his work with the game isn’t.

“I’m just trying to stay busy and stay around the youth of Chicago,” Carcillo said. “I’m enjoying that part of my job.”

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.