The Blackhawks went from a losing team to a three-time Stanley Cup champion in that 10-year span. Sharp developed from a player with potential to one that was respected as a top-6 forward throughout the NHL. Sharp also established a family in Chicago and made the city their home.
Sharp reflected on those times Saturday and officially said goodbye to Chicago and the Blackhawks and hello to his new home, the Dallas Stars.
“That’s the toughest part is leaving the community, leaving the organization,” Sharp said on a conference call Saturday. “I built a home in Chicago and built a family there. It’s going to be an emotional time switching cities and switching teams, but I think my wife and I are excited about the new chapter in our career and our life. We consider ourselves very lucky to going to an organization like the Stars have.”
Sharp described the conversations he had Friday with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville as “tough” and “emotional”. While Sharp said he had heard from most of his former Blackhawks teammates and would miss them all, he said leaving behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook would be the hardest.
“The guys that I’ve probably had the most discussion with are Duncs and Seabs,” Sharp said. “Two guys probably my best friends in hockey and played all 10 years of Chicago with those guys. Those two guys stand out the most that I’m going to miss quite a bit.”
The fact that the Blackhawks were looking to deal Sharp was no secret to anyone, including him. He was ready for it to finally happen.
“I’ve learned over the years not to put too much emphasis or listen to too many rumors, where they’re coming from unless they’re coming from [GM] Stan [Bowman] or my agent,” Sharp said. “But to hear the trade talk and speculation over the past couple days was certainly something I wouldn’t say it was weighing on our family, but it was getting annoying to a point. We just wanted to get something done.”
Sharp called the Stars a tough team to play against and dangerous in a lot of ways. He is familiar with a number of their players, including Antti Niemi, who he played with on the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup team.
Sharp wasn’t exactly ready yet to sit back and reflect on what his legacy will be with the Blackhawks, but it will be a period of his life he remembers fondly.
“I can tell you that I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve accomplished in the last 10 years, both on and off the ice,” Sharp said. “Sometimes that gets lost in pro sports is all the off-ice stuff the Blackhawks have allowed me to do, whether it’s interacting with fans, helping out in a charitable way or just being a member of the city of Chicago representing the Blackhawks.
“It’s been a special 10 years. The three Stanley Cups also stand out, no question about that. That chapter of my life is over, and I’m looking forward to starting a new one.”