True, Hasek played in his first official NHL game as a member of the Blackhawks on November 6, 1990. He may have even appeared in a preseason game before then. But Hasek’s debut with the Blackhawks came on September 15, 1990 — 25 years ago today — when he took part in the team’s annual Red-White Scrimmage.
This wasn’t an official game. No ticket stubs exist, as it was free to get in, and no newspapers recapped it the next day. All that we have is this roster that was typed out, photocopied and passed out to fans during the first period.
There was little fanfare for the event, which took place a day before the Blackhawks first preseason game.. The Red-White Scrimmage featured two squads of ‘Hawks hopefuls, with some regulars mixed in, going head-to-head at old Chicago Stadium. Most fans didn’t even notice or care that Hasek — who was named Goaltender of the Year in Czechoslovakia from 1986 to 1990 — was in the lineup.
Nope. We were too busy giving Chicago-born Chris Chelios, who was acquired over the summer, a standing ovation when he first stepped onto the Chicago Stadium ice. Or cheering for Steve Thomas, Steve Larmer and even Wayne Van Dorp, who were some of the established Blackhawks appearing in the game.
Right at the bottom of list for Team White — the very last name on the page — it reads:
40 DOMINIK HASEK GOAL
I wish I could remember the score or how well Hasek played. He must have done all right, as Blackhawks head coach Mike Keenan called up Hasek from the minors a few times in 1990-91.
Today, preseason or rookie camp games — with prospects like Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — are many times standing room-only, sold-out events. Blog posts are written, videos are shared and tweets are tweeted practically every time a prospect does anything these days. That was not the case 25 years ago.
No one paid Hasek much mind. No one at the “Red-White Game,” as fans called it, knew they were witnessing the debut of the best goalie of the 1990s; one of the best of all-time.
For more about the Chicago Blackhawks 1990 Red-White Scrimmage, click here. ■