Ladd's return to Winnipeg an emotional one

Updated 3/18/2016 10:21 AM

"It's going to be weird. I don't know if there's any other way to put it."

Yes, Friday is not going to be an easy day -- or night -- for Andrew Ladd. That's when the 30-year-old winger will return to Winnipeg in a visiting uniform as the Blackhawks take on a team Ladd spent nearly six seasons with.


And while he was a huge success and the face of the franchise for much of that time, plenty happened off the ice as well for the British Columbia native.

He got married to his wife, Brandy, in 2011. They had a son in 2013, then a daughter in 2014.

Life-changing events, for sure, so it's easy to see why Ladd's return will be an emotional one.

"I had a lot of good years there and fond memories and good friends," Ladd said. "So it's going to be odd to go into that rink and head to a different dressing room, (play) against them on the same ice and look across the rink and see a lot of friends on the other bench."

On the ice, Ladd scored 139 goals in 429 games for the Thrashers/Jets franchise, and he was their captain as well. The Blackhawks gave up Marko Dano, their first-round pick in 2016 and a conditional third-round pick in 2018 to acquire Ladd and a pair of AHL players.

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Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has no doubt Ladd will be receive a warm -- if not effusive -- welcome back.

"He was the captain of their team, a heart-and-soul type guy, he leaves it out there every single night," Quenneville said. "They had a great finish last year to get in the playoffs.

"They tried to help him at the deadline, give him a chance. At the same time I think he has some real strong feelings about his great experience in Winnipeg. I'm sure it'll be an interesting night for him."

• Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh

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