Hockey great Denis Savard will be appearing at the Chicago Construction Expo III, which takes place on Jan. 7 and 8, 2009 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center. Savard will be present on Jan. 8 from 12 to 2 p.m. to meet attendees.
Savard, who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, spent 17 years on the ice, primarily playing for the Blackhawks from 1980 to 1990 and again from 1994 to 1997. In the interim, he played with both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 1993.
That moment was especially sweet for Savard because, as he said, “I was back home when we won the cup. I was absolutely delighted that my whole family — not my mom and dad they had passed away years before — but all my brothers and their wives and kids were there.”
Another highlight of Savard’s career came in 2000 when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. This, too, was as much about family to him as it was about hockey. “When I was inducted,” Savard said, “to me it was like a gift to my brothers and my mom and dad. All the stuff they did for me, all the trips to hockey rinks and all the encouragement, it was a celebration of that.” In addition, Savard was honored by the Blackhawks in 1988 when they retired his number (18).
Of his memorable career moments Savard said, “I’ve been very fortunate. Winning the Stanley Cup, Hockey Hall of Fame. But the one that stands out the most is scoring my first goal in Montreal, where I grew up, against the Canadiens.”
The camaraderie of his playing days is the thing that Savard misses the most. “Being with teammates day in and day out. I miss the competition, no question. I don’t know if that’s ever going to leave me. I still compete these days in whatever I take on. The day of a game was an all-day thing and even though it was a lot of pressure, it was fun.”
More than a decade has passed since Savard’s retirement, and in that time hockey has changed a great deal. “It is a lot different. The players are bigger, stronger and faster. The NHL has done a great job with the rules they’ve changed to open up space. I think it’s a much more exciting game than it used to be. There is so much parity now — on any given night anybody can beat anybody,” Savard said.
Could he compete with today’s players? Could anyone from his era? “Not a lot of them could play in today’s game. Some could. Superstars from different eras might be able to, but there’s quite a few of them. Obviously, Gretzky was the best. Bobby Orr. Bobby Hull. It’s tough to pick one,” Savard noted.
Looking ahead to appearing at the Chicago Expo, Savard said, “I have a lot of friends in the construction industry. Not so much in commercial building, but more in homes. It’s a tough business right now and some of them are really struggling. Hopefully the market will turn around for them.”
“I’m honored,” he continued. “I know that you guys have had a lot of big name guests there over the years. I’m looking forward to that day.”