It’s a critical component in a sport where the “C” is sewn prominently on a sweater. In soccer it’s a band around the sleeve. Football has it in a smaller box on the chest. Baseball occasionally displays it. But in hockey, the “C” is stands out, and on the iconic Chicago Blackhawks sweater, it’s sewn practically over the heart.
Symbolic as it may be, it’s important. The heartbeat of the team is usually the guy who wears that “C” and those sporting the “A” are right behind him.
With the Blackhawks young core being drafted and some already primed for time in Chicago, it’s evident that leadership has taken center stage in a rebuild where the aim is prolonged contention.
Moore Another Member of Young Core Prime for Leadership
Drafting Oliver Moore was for far more than just the speed factor. Don’t be fooled–the Blackhawks have their strategic plans for building a foundation–speed, skill, and leadership. The culture building began this week off the ice, and instead focused often on the whole-body, whole-mind approach. From breathing exercises down to team bonding, the emphasis on creating a positive culture within the organization–from top to bottom–has become priority.
“I was reading Oliver Moore’s comments about how he said how Connor carries himself has already rubbed off on him and that’s what you want,” Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson said. “That’s culture. So you see players come in and they’re already dictating behaviors and positive behaviors. That’s kind of the goal that you seek.”
But for Davidson noting that of Moore, Bedard had his own view of how Moore’s work ethic rubbed off on him.
“Yeah, I think the same,” Bedard said. “He’s a really hard worker and he’s really competitive. That’s something that, he wasn’t happy when he lost in spikeball or something like that. No, but it was great getting to know him. He’s a special player. But I think for me, his off-ice habits and his work ethic was great to see.”
Yet Moore sees room for improvement, even though he’s been in leadership spots before.
“I’ve been a leader on a lot of teams growing up,” Moore said. “Also just being an assistant captain on the US national team this year, that had a lot of leadership qualities. But obviously I still have a lot of work to do to round out my leadership abilities and be a leader at the next level.”
Leadership All Over Blackhawks Prospect Pool
There are hosts of players who have been in leadership spots or will be on their respective team. Paul Ludwinski is a captain. So was Ethan del Mastro before he was traded. Bedard wore the “C” in Regina.
Beyond that, Kevin Korchinski played a prominent role for Seattle along with teammates Nolan Allan and Colton Dach. Samuel Savoie was even named as a leader by Davidson, and he hasn’t worn a letter–yet. When it comes to how leadership looks, be it organic or taught, the Blackhawks are doing what they can to make it as authentic as possible.
“You see it when they’re playing their team games and you see the guys that are picking everyone up and bringing the team together, bringing the group together,” Davidson said. “And also the different flavor of guys that like to throw jabs at each other and not be afraid to mix it up with different guys and keep it light.
We talked about Sam earlier, he’s definitely one of those guys. And there’s a couple of them that play that other angle, there’s is the more leadership, bringing everyone together, but also the guys that are not afraid to throw some jabs and kind of make fun of guys or poke fun and have a little bit of fun, because that’s important too. We’re definitely seeing that.”
One of the fallacies is that leaders are born. It’s actually the opposite–leadership skills need to be honed and refined in order to be used effectively.
Those skill have been honed all week by the Blackhawks. Down the road, they’ll see exactly how effective that work has been.