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Blackhawks crash kids' alley, basement hockey games

Scott Darling, Ryan Hartman declare official practice rinks around Chicago @NHLdotcom

Playing hockey in your street, alley or basement is great. But it's better with a couple of pro hockey players.

Chicago Blackhawks Ryan Hartman and Scott Darling ventured around the Chicago area to surprise young hockey-playing fans and declare their makeshift playing surfaces official Blackhawks practice rinks.

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: Chicago boys Scott Darling and Ryan Hartman help prove you don���t need ice to play hockey. Your rink is what you make it. #OurRinks #OneGoal

As two hockey players who spent their formative years in Illinois, Darling and Hartman know how important it is to practice, even if it isn't done on ice.

"Growing up around Chicago, [Hartman] and I would play hockey wherever we could," Darling says. "Driveways. Garage. Backyard. you name it."

"Basement," Hartman responds. "Alley. Mom's kitchen."

The reaction of the young Blackhawks fans seeing two of their heroes is as you'd expect: stunned.

Unfortunately for Darling, he couldn't get out of playing his regular position.

"I always have to play goalie," he said.

And a tour of pickup games wouldn't have been complete without at least one broken window.

Darling just wanted fans to keep playing hockey, even if this unseasonably warm Illinois winter makes finding outdoor rinks a challenge.

"You don't need ice to play hockey," Darling says. "Your rink is what you make of it.

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