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Stadium Series Alumni Game has Roenick nostalgic

by Dan Rosen

Jeremy Roenick doesn't get on the ice very much anymore, but he couldn't resist the invitation to lace up his skates for the Chicago Blackhawks one more time.

Roenick, who hasn't played in a Blackhawks uniform since May 13, 1996, will be in his original NHL colors on Feb. 20 for the 2016 NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game, when a team of former Blackhawks will play against a team of Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Wild alums at TCF Bank Stadium.

The event takes place the day before the Blackhawks and Wild play their 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game.

"I don't skate anymore, so that might be a little interesting," Roenick said. "But by no means will I embarrass myself. Minnesota and Chicago, we had some wars together."

Roenick said getting back on the ice to play with former teammates like Denis Savard and Chris Chelios against other former nemeses like Mike Modano and Dino Ciccarelli will bring back a storm of memories.

The Blackhawks and North Stars played each other twice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs during Roenick's tenure in Chicago (1989-96). The Blackhawks won a seven-game first-round series in 1990 and the North Stars won a six-game first-round series in 1991.

"I remember Minnesota beat us in the first round after we won the Presidents' Trophy in '91," Roenick said. "That's when that little kid hit me with a hot dog in the face when I was coming off the ice."

Roenick said he's looking forward to playing against Modano again. He said it'll be strange to see Ciccarelli on the ice and not be scared because that never happened during his playing days.

"He was an intimidating figure even though he was so small," Roenick said. "That guy was like a rabid dog, a rabid raccoon who wanted to kill everything. He was like a mini-Mark Messier. He would hurt you physically and hurt you on the scoreboard."

Roenick said he expects a friendly atmosphere and a fun game, but said the on-ice chatter between the former players will turn to their adversarial past.

"You don't see those days anymore, where literally guys would look at each other like they're going to kill each other every night and you were in fear of that every night," Roenick said. "It brings back those memories of what it was like going into those barns and why walking up the stairs to Chicago Stadium was so intimidating.

"It's going to be awesome. That old Norris Division that turned into the Chuck Norris Division; fans really can gravitate toward that."


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