For Patrick Sharp, saying goodbye to Blackhawks not easy

After 10 years with the team, trade leaves Sharp with mixed emotions

Patrick Sharp figured this day was coming. But when Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman called him Friday with the news that he was in fact being traded, it still hit the 33-year-old winger hard.

“The conversation with Stan was a tough one, just like the one with (coach) Joel Quenneville was,” Sharp said in a conference call with reporters Saturday.

Sharp and promising defenseman Stephen Johns were traded to Dallas on Friday for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.

It was almost 10 years ago when a 23-year-old Sharp came to Chicago from Philadelphia for Matt Ellison. Flyers GM Bob Clarke made the deal because he felt he had an overabundance of centers and believed Ellison could “bring more versatility to our lineup.”

To say the deal ended up being lopsided in the Hawks' favor might be the understatement of the decade.

While Ellison would play just seven more games in the NHL, Sharp became part of a core that took the Blackhawks from the depths of the NHL to the mountain top — not once, not twice but three times in the span of six seasons.

Hawks fans will be able to show their appreciation to Sharp in the last preseason game on Oct. 3. The Stars won't visit the United Center in the regular season until Feb. 11.

We thought it would be nice for fans to hear most of what Sharp had to say Saturday, so what follows is an edited version of the Q and A session he had with reporters as he said goodbye to the city he called home for almost 10 years.

Q: Can you discuss what it's going to be like leaving the city of Chicago?

A: The toughest part is leaving the community, leaving the organization. I built a home in Chicago and built a family there. It's gonna be an emotional time switching cities and switching teams, but I think my wife and I are excited about a new chapter in our career and our life. We consider ourselves very lucky to be going to an organization like the Stars have.

Q: Can you tell us who reached out among your Hawks teammates and what they said after they got the news last night?

A: You can imagine what some of the texts said. It's pretty basic stuff. I've talked to just about everybody on the team at this point.

The guys who I probably had the most discussions with are Duncs (Duncan Keith) and Seabs (Brent Seabrook) — two guys that are probably my best friends in the game of hockey. Played all 10 years in Chicago with those guys. Those are the two guys who stand out the most that I'm gonna miss quite a bit.

Whenever a player gets traded, whether it's me or anybody else, I think the team that he leaves (the) guys always want to check in and make sure everything is OK and wish 'em the best.

Q: As tough as it was to be traded, is there is a bit of a weight lifted not having to hear trade rumors anymore?

A: Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I've learned over the years not to put too much emphasis or listen to many rumors — where they're coming from, unless it's coming from Stan (Bowman) or my agent.

But to hear the trade talk and the speculation over the past couple days and weeks was certainly something that — I wouldn't say it was weighing on our family — but it was getting annoying to a point.

We just wanted to get something done; thrilled that we're able to go to Dallas. Looking forward to getting down there and meeting my teammates, the coaching staff and getting started with a new team.

Q: When you got that call and you talked with Stan, what were your emotions when it finally hit you?

A: You trying to make me cry or something? … When I was traded from Philadelphia to Chicago, I knew that was coming, but it still comes as a shock when it actually happens. There's a lot of different things going on — you try to take care of your family and your friends and your own personal situation.

But the conversation with Stan was a tough one, just like the one with Joel Quenneville was. Those guys have done a lot for me over the past few years. Whenever you leave an organization, there's certainly mixed emotions.

I can't say anything bad about the Blackhawks. I really enjoyed my time with the Hawks. I've grown into the person I am today because of that organization. It was an emotional conversation.

I look forward to reconnecting with those guys one day, whether it's playing against them or seeing them in the off-season or whatever.

Q: What would you consider your legacy in the city of Chicago and as a member of the Blackhawks?

A: It's a tough question for me to answer at this point. I can tell you that I'm extremely proud of everything I've accomplished in the last 10 years both on and off the ice. Sometimes that gets lost in pro sports is all the off-ice stuff that the Blackhawks have allowed me to do.

Whether it's interacting with fans, helping out in a charitable way or just being a member of the city of Chicago representing the Blackhawks — it's been a special 10 years.

The three Stanley Cups also stand out. No question about that.

But that chapter of my life is over and I'm looking forward to starting a new one.

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