Oct. 17, 2015, vs. Columbus “I was really nervous, being a young guy,” Hinostroza said. “I don’t remember who it was against, but it was really fun and exciting and really loud and everything I ever dreamed of.”
‘Not too flashy’
When you get right down to it, what qualities do all Chicago-bred players share?
“Definitely hard-working,” Hinostroza said. “Nothing’s really given to you as a young kid around here. Just hard work and dedication and being motivated is what’s going to get you to the next level always.”
Darling took it a step further, attributing such traits to a larger region.
“It’s not just a Chicago thing but a Midwest thing; [they’re] blue-collar, hardworking [players],” he said. “You look at the way Vinnie and Hartsy play, they’re 100 percent all the time, going into the corners, they’re gritty players. I think it’s kind of the persona of the Midwest. Not too flashy. We get the job done and work hard.”
Olczyk, meanwhile, said players from the area understand the bigger picture and that he and the players who came after him never would have made it on their own. “[Chicago players] know how important the fabric of the game is in our community,” he said. “I think guys take a lot of pride in representing not only the teams and cities that they play for, but they’re Chicago guys and they always will be. Whether it’s talking about this rink or that rink or the scoreboard or the locker room, the stories are all the same and guys can all relate to everything that’s taken place. [They’re] proud of where they’re from and not forgetting the people and the teams and the coaches and the opportunities that were allowed for them to get where they are today.”
Vinnie Hinostroza (left) and Ryan Hartman
Vinnie Hinostroza GETTY IMAGES