How the Blackhawks got their nicknames
Hockey players can have lightning speed, nimble hands and a net-ripping slapshot, but if they don't have a nickname, they don't really have anything.
You've got to have a nickname in hockey, a sport that hands them out like no other. RedEye asked several Blackhawks about the origins of their alternative monikers and their favorites on the team.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.
Jamal "Jammer" Mayers
How far back does the nickname "Jammer" go?
"I've been that since I was 15 … Tier II Junior A level, Thornhill Thunderbirds."
Do you remember who first gave it you?
"He was the general manager of the team. He said it wasn't necessarily because of my name, 'Jamal,' but it was fitting because it was a reference to a position in roller derby that I didn't know about. The position's called the 'Jammer,' where [they] go ahead of everybody else and knock everybody down. So that's where I got that nickname."
How are these nicknames thought up?
[Laughs] "It just flows. It's like asking Jay-Z how he comes up with his rhymes. It just comes to him. But, typically, it's something with your last name. Sometimes, though, you have to make up one. If you look at a young guy [like Brandon Saad], his nickname's just … 'Manchild.' All you have to do is look at him, because he comes shaven in the morning and by the time we're having lunch, he's got a little bit of a shadow—and he's 20 years old, so 'Manchild.' He'll probably be 'Saader' in a couple years, but for now he's 'Manchild.' It's a compliment."
What do you think of the nickname "Taser" for Jonathan Toews?
"That's pretty easy."
You probably feel the same about "Kaner"?
"Yeah, but really he's 'Kanye'"
[Smiles] "Because he's one of the best."
Does he listen to Kanye?
"I don't know. You'll have to ask him."