When the Chicago Blackhawks organization to travels to San Jose to open the Western Conference finals, forgive them if they feel like they’re looking into a mirror (although maybe on the other end, the faces are a little bit tanner).
You can see Chicago’s fingerprints all over the Sharks organization. Need evidence? Let’s take a look at some of the front office members with a little bit of Blackhawk face paint in their past. (Much of this information is fished out from the Sharks media guide.)
Sharks GM Doug Wilson was a first round draft pick of the Blackhawks and ranks as the team’s all-time leader among defensemen in points, goals and assists. He was also the first captain in Sharks history.
Former Sharks GM Dean Lombardi is the son-in-law of Bob Pulford.
Wayne Thomas, current assistant GM and vice president was an assistant coach for Chicago during the 1987-88 season.
Darryl Sutter coached each team at one point.
Assistant coach Trent Yawney worked with the Blackhawks organization for 14 years and was the head coach from 2005-07. He was also drafted by the team in the third round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
Team scouts Rob Grillo and Dirk Graham have spent time in the organization.
Equipment manager Mike Aldrich‘s son Brad is the Blackhawks’ video coach.
So, in other words, the San Jose Sharks might as well be called Chicago Blackhawks West. Or perhaps they should be called the Sancago Black-Sharks? Maybe the Chicose Shawks? Whatever way you horribly splice the two team names together, it’s obvious that there are some deep connections between the two franchises. Heck, Jeremy Roenick even started his career with one team (Chicago) and ended it with the other (San Jose).
It’s just another wrinkle that hockey fans can add to an already intriguing series.