COLUMN: Kane trade leaves hole in heart of Chicago


Mary Altaffer

New York Rangers right wing Patrick Kane, left, is defended by Carolina Hurricanes center Martin Necas during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

By Alex Crowe, Assistant Sports Editor

One of the greatest eras in Chicago sports history came to an end on Feb. 28. The Chicago Blackhawks traded away the greatest player in franchise history, Patrick Kane, to the New York Rangers. 

With the trade, Chicago lost not only a great hockey player, but a piece of the city’s identity.


Kane was an icon in Chicago since his arrival in 2007. He spent 16 seasons with the Blackhawks, which included 1,225 points with the team, a Rookie of the Year award in 2008, a playoff Most Valuable Player award in 2013 and a league Most Valuable Player award in 2016. Most importantly, Kane was a massive contributor to three Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015. 

The impact Kane had on the ice for the Blackhawks cannot be understated. Consistently in the basement of the NHL before Kane’s arrival, the Blackhawks were a laughingstock. They were even voted as the worst franchise in North American sports by ESPN in 2004. Home games were not streamed locally in Chicago. The Blackhawks were an afterthought. 

Upon his arrival in 2007, Kane’s impact on the ice was immediately felt. He helped the Blackhawks go on a run to the Western Conference Final in 2009 and win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 49 years the following season. After just three years in the league, Kane took the Blackhawks from irrelevance into what eventually became a dynasty. 

Without Kane, the Blackhawks do not win their three Stanley Cups in the 2010s. His clutch playoff performances will go down as some of the greatest moments in Chicago sports history. Kane scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime in 2010. He also scored the overtime winner in game five of the 2013 Western Conference Final to complete a hat-trick and send the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final. Both goals are just two of multiple legendary Kane performances. 


Kane’s on-ice impact was perhaps the least significant of his time in Chicago. His off-ice impact elevates his status from a Chicago legend to one of the greatest athletes in Chicago sports history.

While his clutch playoff performances brought glory to Chicago, they also brought joy and lifelong memories to Blackhawks fans everywhere. 

Growing up playing hockey in Chicago, everyone watched Patrick Kane. Hockey players wanted to emulate Patrick Kane. At my peewee hockey practices, my teammates always recreated the latest Patrick Kane highlight from the previous night’s game. Even in high school, my teammates and I once mimicked Kane’s iconic Stanley Cup winner in 2010 as a way to reminisce about one of our favorite hockey memories. 

Kane was always active in the Chicago community, repaying the love the fans had shown him since he arrived. Kane made visits to Lurie Children’s Hospital to provide a distraction from the harsh realities the kids faced. 

“I’ve always had a soft spot for the kids – especially for the kids that are going through more difficult times,” Kane said during a visit to Lurie Children’s Hospital in 2018. “Just kind of showing up and offering a smiling face and trying to be happy around them. Bring them some joy whether it’s me being there or … just being part of that and bring some type of joy and excitement during maybe a tougher time for them.”

Kane also surprised a fire station in Downers Grove in 2015 to give back to those who protect the community every day.


I started playing hockey around the same time Kane was drafted in 2007. I loved playing hockey at that point. Patrick Kane solidified not just my passion for playing, but my passion for the game itself. 

My favorite memories growing up a hockey fan in Chicago are of singing Chelsea Dagger at the United Center after a Kane goal; stressing out in front of my TV during overtime of so many playoff games; screaming in elation after Kane sent my favorite team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013. I can recall where I was standing when Kane all but sealed game six of the 2015 final with five minutes remaining. 

The weeks leading up to Kane’s departure were difficult for me as a lifelong Blackhawks fan. The rumors behind the trade swirled all season, and I thought I was prepared. But after the trade was made official, it hit harder than I expected. 

I, like so many other hockey players, grew up watching Patrick Kane score huge goals for the Blackhawks and bring championships to my city. He provided me and so many others with so much joy and excitement. He gave me my favorite memories of watching Blackhawks games with my family and friends that will last a lifetime. 

Kane leaves a legendary legacy in Chicago, and even though his time is over, he will always be a Blackhawk.