In-case you missed it or haven’t read part 1 of Great Chicago Blackhawks Nicknames, then you can check it out here.
Patrick Kane didn’t invent Spin-o-Rama. Let’s just make that clear. He wasn’t even the first Blackhawk to perfect it. He was following in the skates of Denis “Savvy” Savard. Savard would execute the Spin-O-Rama flawlessly on his way to putting a backhanded shot in the top corner behind bewildered goaltenders who were still trying to figure out how his skates could do that. A flashy, silky player, the nickname “Savvy” fit him like a glove, not only because of the hedging of his name, but also because of the way he moved on the ice, always smooth and with confidence.
Savard was drafted 3rd overall by the Blackhawks in 1980 and was the highest drafted Blackhawk in history until the team took Kane first overall in 2007. He would notably play on a line alongside Steve “Gramps” Larmer and Al Secord. After his playing career, Savard served as a head coach of the Blackhawks before Joel Quenneville and is now one of the organization’s brightest ambassadors. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, and still smiling bright with a Blackhawks jersey, Savard is “Savvy” indeed.
Alright, stop it right here. It’s not uncommon for Illinois natives to spend time in a Blackhawks uniform. But one of the most recognized and celebrated of the bunch is Ed Olczyk. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, and becoming a standout on Team Illinois, an AAA midget team, Olczyk would go on to represent the nation at the 1984 Olympics. He was impressive enough to earn a draft slot with the Blackhawks in the first round in 1984 and tallied his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. He was a noted member of Chicago’s “Clydesdale Line” with Troy Murray and Curt Fraser.
Though he earned his “Edzo” nickname while spending time in Pittsburgh, the name has carried over to his current position as analyst in Chicago and is fitting for a guy who enjoys teaching the game to viewers and young fans. In fact, Edzo’s impact on young hockey players is evident in the Eddie Olczyk Award, which is given to young hockey players and teams in Illinois that may not have the means to play at a competitive level. He is a loyal and determined representative of the game who takes the time to give back and teach the next generation of players. Let’s hope he doesn’t stop that.
The Old Grey Lady
Younger fans will have no idea who the grey lady was. Older fans are already smiling with memories. Yes, youngsters, there was once an old grey lady that haunted West Madison Street in downtown Chicago. She was regal, dignified, and oh, the stories she could tell. For many Chicago fans and residents, the Chicago Stadium was more than a building of brick and mortar. She was a presence. It was Pat Foley that would refer to the building as “The Old Grey Lady” and he name couldn’t have been more fitting. Originally built in 1929, Chicago Stadium, also nicknamed “The Madhouse on Madison,” held the Blackhawks and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.
But more than sports, concerts, political events, even a rodeo all took place in the historic building. Inside, the famed Barton organ was the world’s largest organ console with over 3,600 pipes. When the Blackhawks scored, the stone walls would vibrate from the decibels of the goal horn, the organ, and the fans. The Lady was demolished in 1995 to the disappointment of fans, and the site is now a parking lot for the United Center. Many Blackhawk traditions that fans still carry on to this day were originated with the Grey Lady, and her memory will always live on as the loving, fabled relative we knew so well.