Duncan Keith won’t be in attendance at this weekend’s Chicago Blackhawks Convention. He felt he owed the fans an explanation, and made a sad revelation to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: He needs to be home with his 2-year-old son, as Keith and his wife separated over a year ago.
“I am going through a divorce. I've been separated for over a year now. I think right now my time needs to be spent with my son and I'm doing everything I can to spend as much time with him and dealing with a lot going on right now,” he told the Tribune. “I hope everybody can respect that and our privacy. Kelly and I are doing our best to co-parent Colton and raise him in a loving environment whether he's with her or with me. This is part of that.”
This unfortunately isn’t the first time Keith’s marital status has become a part of public discourse. As the Tribune notes, there were “salacious, unfounded rumors about his personal life and that of former teammate Patrick Sharp” that circulated during the season, as both Sharp and Keith were forced to address them back in March.
Keith said the rumors took their toll, according to the Tribune:
"I'm not going to lie: It has been a long year and extremely difficult,'' Keith said. "I know there was a lot of talk throughout the year regarding Sharpie and that was all a complete fabrication as well. My divorce had nothing to do with anything except what was between me and Kelly-Rae, and that's where I'd like to keep it.
"Hopefully people can respect that and give us our privacy to move forward and co-parent our son. … It's obviously not the way I wanted things to be or drew them up. At the same time, you have to find a way to focus. For me, it usually was getting to the rink and turning the switch to hockey.”
All of it is a reminder of the human side of this game. Duncan Keith won the Conn Smythe for being the best player on the best team in the NHL, skating for seemingly super-human minutes as the Blackhawks captured the Stanley Cup.
Then he celebrated, on the ice, with his young son in one of the more touching moments of the Blackhawks’ Game 6 party:
Not many were privy to what Keith was going through off the ice. But he endured, compartmentalized and excelled. And now, as the team is celebrated yet again, he’s content to be a dad for a while.
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