Patrick Sharp’s Gesture to Chicago Was a Genuine Touch of Class

The number of ways that a professional athlete can acknowledge his or her time on a team is extensive. It’s an even greater number for athletes to acknowledge their fans. What readers of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times saw on Sunday, July 12, 2015 was a moment of both for one of the National Hockey League’s most indescribable players.

Former Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Sharp said goodbye Sunday to his millions of fans by taking out a full-page ad in the Tribune and Sun-Times and titling it “Thank You, Chicago.” The ad shows a photo of Sharp proudly holding up the Stanley Cup for the last time as a member of the Blackhawks. Underneath, a heart-felt message was written by Sharp saying thank you to all his fans, former teammates and the rest of the Blackhawks staff for the 10 years that he spent being among the “sea of red.”

“This city has meant so much to me and my family,” wrote Sharp. “Three Stanley Cup victories. The birth of Madelyn Grace and Sadie Ellen. Endless memories from the fans, my friends and teammates. For the Sharp family, Chicago has become home.”

Sharp finalized his trade to the Dallas Stars on Friday, a tearful moment that shows that the Chicago Blackhawks will not be the same without “Sharpie.” After all, he played in more than 670 games with the Blackhawks and scored more than 230 goals. Aside from winning Stanley Cups for Chicago, he has also been part of an NHL All-Star Game, and won an Olympic gold medal while playing in Canada in 2014. With all those accomplishments, Sharp has definitely turned “hockey” into “HAWKey” (WGN).

But aside from his professional achievements, Sharp did something historic Sunday that you’ve never seen from any professional athlete. He crowned all of his Chicago fans as the reason behind his success athletically and personally. There’s something to be said about a professional athlete taking the time out of his or her day to create a message for the millions of fans who supported them, whether they succeeded with that team or not. Sharp doesn’t just leave without saying goodbye; he puts out a positive message for all the readers and fans to take away from the more unfortunate news that is published in the Tribune and Sun-Times. If that’s not a prime example of sportsmanship, then I don’t know what is.

For Sharp, his wife and their two daughters, this is just a goodbye to Chicago. When the next hockey season starts in October, Sharp will emerge in his new green jersey as a member of the Dallas Stars. But let’s face it, ‘Sharpie’ will always look better in Blackhawks red.

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