BRANDON SAAD

2nd year on Hawks

It's my first time being a part of it, and I think it's cool knowing they're excited seeing us in games and to be able to see us practice too. It's an opportunity to come see us more, so yeah, I think it's great that they let them in. Chicago's obviously a great hockey town, so it's exciting to play in front of them.

 

ANDREW SHAW

2nd year on Hawks

I think it's pretty cool to have the great support of the fan base here in Chicago. They show up every day in practice just like we do. Even at the games, they're unbelievable. It just shows that the city of Chicago loves their hockey.

Do you have any favorite stories of interacting with fans at practice?

Shaw: Some guys have paintings or drawings they give you. I think that's pretty neat that they do that.

Someone gave you a painting? Like of you?

Shaw: Yeah, a few people did. I gave them to my parents back home. They love them. So you try to give back to them if you can. Give them a stick or just an autograph or something.

If you met a die-hard Hawks fan who had never been to practice, what would you tell him or her about why they should come?

It's exciting to see the skilled players we have here work on their individual skills after practice. And just to see how the boys have fun out there, and how we're such a tight-knit group. It kind of pushes into the games too.

 

VIKTOR STALBERG

3rd year on Hawks, previously with Toronto

I think it's good [that fans] can come here and watch it. It's exciting for them to be able to get closer to us. It's more personal than a game would be. The one team I was on before didn't have open practice too often, so it's kind of a cool thing. I think the fans appreciate us.

If you met a die-hard Hawks fan who had never been to practice, what would you tell him or her about why they should come?

Oh, I don't know. I wouldn't go watch a practice myself. [Laughs.] I think the games are exciting, but I just think they want to see us up close and personal. I don't know why you would come watch a practice. For young kids it's probably fun to come and see some different things, to see what we work on and what you can learn from us in practice. Or just die-hard fans, it's probably fun to see us a little closer.

They're great fans. We're excited we have fans like this who come to practice. That's certainly not the case in all teams around the league. So we're fortunate to have the fans that we have here.

Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @ReadJack.

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