(Photo: BHTV YouTube)
Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling‘s path from the Chicago suburbs to the city’s professional hockey team wasn’t an easy one. He kept that in mind when he met a man who was down on his luck in Arizona last week.
A story making social media rounds claimed a previously unfamiliar with hockey Uber driver’s experience with the netminder made him a new fan.
The story, shared by Twitter user Kane Van Gate, a men’s league goalie who happened to hitch a ride with the same driver, tells of how Darling’s generosity made the Hawks’ backup goalie someone’s hero–and convinced an Uber driver that “hockey’s the greatest sport in the world.”
Here’s another example of hockey players being awesome people… pic.twitter.com/mR1eNNB97F
— Kane Van Gate (@KVanGate38) February 8, 2016
Darling, a backup goalie with a near league-minimum $570,000 salary, didn’t think twice about getting groceries and a place to stay for someone who needed it. He confirmed the story to Chicago media after Monday’s Blackhawks practice.
He said he came across a man in need in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the team stayed Wednesday prior to their Thursday matchup against the Coyotes. He didn’t name the man, but said he wanted to do something.
“I just started talking to him, was interested in his life, seemed like a good guy and just needed a helping hand,” Darling said. “That’s kind of how it happened.”
The social media attention starting yesterday surprised him, he said, because he only told his fiancée. (After a long relationship, Darling and Martha Buckley announced their engagement on Instagram over the All-Star break.)
“I had no idea how anyone even found out about that,” Darling said.
Darling is from Lemont, Ill. He played youth hockey for the AA Vikings in Orland Park, Ill., the AA Huskies in Darien, Ill., the AAA Team Illinois, and the Chicago Young Americans. He attended Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, Canada starting eighth grade, and played AAA hockey for the Hounds.
By his sophomore year of college at the University of Maine, Darling battled alcohol addiction and social anxiety, costing him his spot on the team. He’s hasn’t hesitated to share that experience, along with his journey toward recovery and time spent on a number of teams in a number of leagues–in the ECHL (Florida Everblades, Wheeling Nailers, and Cincinnati Cyclones), the Southern Professional Hockey League (Louisiana Icegators and Mississippi Riverkings), and the American Hockey League (Wilkes-Barre Penguins, Hamilton Bulldogs, and Milwaukee Admirals) before the Rockford IceHogs and last year’s exciting call-up to the Blackhawks.
“I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for that situation – people battling stuff that other people don’t understand,” Darling said. “But like I said, he seemed like a really nice person. I’m in the position to help somebody like that. I’m happy to do it.”
Just paying it forward… Lucky to be in a position to help. https://t.co/3peoM1lWLu
— Scott Darling (@SDarling_33) February 8, 2016
Upcoming Blackhawks Games
The Blackhawks have returned to Chicago, where they’ll host four game over the next week:
- San Jose Sharks at 7:30 p.m. CT Feb. 9 CSN-CH
- Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. CT Feb. 11 CSN-CH, SNP
- Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 p.m. CT Feb. 13 WGN, NHLN-US
- Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 p.m. CT Feb. 15 CSN-CH, NHLN-US
They’ve won the last seven on home ice.
But the biggest winners are the ones who remember Darling’s message and pay it forward.