I’d say that every up-and-coming hockey player should take notes from Andrew Shaw.
But really, everybody could learn a thing or two from him.
Known by his teammates as “Mutt” – the Chicago Blackhawks center has slowly become the NHL’s new definition for toughness. While a bit outdated, the video below defines Andrew Shaw in a nutshell.
During his first season playing for the Niagara IceDogs (part of the Ontario Hockey League), the scrappy Shaw picked a fight with Brandon Mashinter of the Belleville Bulls.
Brandon Mashinter is 6’4” and weighs 220 pounds. Andrew Shaw, as you probably know, is only 5’11” and weighs 165 pounds.
Brandon Mashinter vs. Andrew Shaw | April 7th, 2009
This video shows precisely why Shaw has already found success in his brief NHL career. And despite the fact it took place over five years ago, the announcers in this video could already pin-point exactly why Shaw was going to become such a dynamic player.
If nothing else, this clip just confirms what we already know.
“He (Shaw) is a modern day Rocky Balboa. This guy is for real. The real deal. He’ll fight, he’ll score, he’ll hit, he’ll do whatever you want.”
Andrew Shaw grew up in Belleville, Ontario – two hours east of Toronto. After being selected in the fifth round (139th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, “Mutt” has made a name, and home, for himself in the Windy City.
During his NHL debut against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012, Shaw was forced to get stitches after scuffling with Zac Rinaldo. But in all-too-familiar fashion, Shaw returned to the game with a fresh scar and scored his first NHL goal.
A similar incident occurred during Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Shaw was struck in the face by a shot from Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins, and immediately fell to the ice gripping his cheek in a pool of blood.
His parents, however, remained confident. After all, they recognize their son’s steadfast attitude better than anyone.
According to his dad, “He was either dead, or he comes back. That’s the way it is.”
Shaw returned in the second period, with a new battle scar and the same old shit-eating-grin that agitates opponents beyond belief. At one point, the officials sent him back to the bench because the wound wouldn’t stop bleeding – and Shaw wouldn’t stop playing.
After another Blackhawks championship was in the books, the photo of Shaw hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup with a gash on his cheek has become one of the most iconic photos in franchise history. Arguably, it painted the perfect portrait of what it means to be “tough” in today’s NHL.
Off the ice, however, Shaw isn’t so hard-hitting. If you take one stroll through his Instagram, you’ll see he’s a man that enjoys the little things in life.
Or his dogs.
And when the time is right, having fun.
Shaw is known for wearing a black rubber bracelet stamped with “Ironworkers Local 721” – which is a shout-out to his hometown and (ultimately) a reminder of his roots.
As a Catholic school kid growing up, I fell into the trend of wearing “WWJD” bracelets. As you might recall, the bands encouraged kids to ask themselves “what would Jesus do?” when faced with a tough decision. Although my “tough decisions” typically took place at the candy store, the bracelet was actually a tiny reminder of my roots.
Just like every other person making it through their early 20’s, I’ve grown fairly pessimistic to the “real world” and all of its evils. Not to mention, I no longer use a bracelet to make my day-to-day decisions.
But when I read about the bracelet that Andrew Shaw wears, it reminded me of how much I admire the young hockey player’s attitude towards the game. Because for a guy that’s not even six-feet-tall, his style of play is massively impactful.
His mentality isn’t tough to understand. At the end of the day, there are only so many synonyms for ‘resilient.’
Whether you’re 6’4” or 4’6” – Andrew Shaw should remind you that size really doesn’t matter, it’s just how you use it. He’s symbolic of everything you were taught growing up, and how applicable those lessons are in everyday life.
Shaw’s fists made the headlines once again this week, after a pugnacious brawl with Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
Now granted, this article doesn’t condone fighting, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you pick fights with guys twice your size.
It does, however, suggest that you shouldn’t put up with other people’s bullshit. You shouldn’t let size or power intimidate you, and you shouldn’t let a puck to the face stop you from playing the game.
So the next time you’re at the end of your rope, had a shitty day at work or another one of life’s brutal dilemmas slaps you in the face, just ask yourself one question.
What would Andrew Shaw do?
(Featured Photo courtesy of Reddit)