When Vincent Hinostroza’s phone rang Friday afternoon, he answered it and found Blackhawks Director of Hockey Administration Mark Bernard on the other end.
Thinking this was just a run-of-the-mill, how-ya-doin’ call, Hinostroza wasn’t exactly ready for the news Bernard was about to drop on him.
“I thought he was just gonna check in, say hi,” Hinostroza said, “and then told me to cancel my dinner plans.”
That’s because Hinostroza’s lifelong dream had just become reality as the Blackhawks decided to call the 21-year-old Bartlett native up from Rockford, allowing him to make his NHL debut against Columbus on Saturday at the United Center.
The Hawks won 4-1.
Hinostroza admitted “it was a surreal moment.”
“I’ve been looking forward to this day since I was 4 or 5,” he said. “It’s unbelievable — I get to put the jersey on tonight, wear the Blackhawks jersey.”
He proceeded to call his parents, and in the process had a little fun with his dad, Rick.
“He’s like, ‘Well, I’m getting ready to go to the rink,'” Rick said. “And I’m like, ‘Well (IceHogs) practice is over already.’
“He goes: ‘No, not that rink. The United Center rink.'”
At that point, Rick said he basically went blank. “I was thinking, ‘OK, is it April Fool’s?’ But I know he wouldn’t kid about something like that. Just speechless.”
The Hinostrozas had to do some fast maneuvering after that phone call because a group of about 30 friends and family were planning to go to Rockford to watch Vinnie play in the IceHogs’ home opener vs. Texas. Instead of making the one-hour drive west, the group — including Vinnie’s mom, Laura, and 24-year-old sister Carli — made the drive east to the UC.
Hinostroza, who left Notre Dame after two years at the Hawks’ urging, impressed the coaches during training camp and in preseason games. He was one of the last to be sent to Rockford and the first one to be called up.
Against Columbus, Hinostroza began the game centering the third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Garbutt as his wingers.
In the Hawks’ win over Columbus, Hinostroza centered the third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Garbutt as his wingers.
“I was kind of in shock out there for a bit,” said Hinostroza, who got 9:47 of ice time and took 2 shots on goal. “It’s kind of hard to get into the game, especially my first game playing here at the United Center. It’s a big thing for me. Definitely want to build off today. Felt like I had some good shifts; it’s easy playing with those great players.”