CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks players may have tough exteriors — but inside, they're softies.
Kind of like pit bulls.
So when forward Bryan Bickell approached his teammates to help his nonprofit with his wife Amanda — which fights against stereotypes against pit bulls and pairs docile pups with kids who've been victims of abuse — the Blackhawks grabbed some furry friends and smiled for the cameras.
Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw, Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith from the Stanley Cup-winning roster all took a break from checking to say "cheese" for Bickell's cause.
The calendars, priced at $25 apiece, will help fund the foundation's missions to find homes for pit bulls in shelters and connect therapy-certified pit bulls — many victims of abuse themselves — with at-risk kids who are victims of abuse or bullying.
The Bickells were inspired to create the nonprofit after adopting their dog, a pit bull named Bailey whose tail had been cut off by her previous owner.
"A month after saving their precious puppy, the Bickell's hometown of Ontario, Canada enacted a ban against any dog resembling a pit bull," the foundation's website explains. "Within a week, Bryan and Amanda were no longer allowed at dog parks, puppy classes, or to take their puppy for a walk unless it was muzzled."
Shortly after they relocated to Chicago for Bryan Bickell to join the Hawks, "Bryan and Amanda heard the city was thinking of banning pit bulls," the website continues.
"Fearing what might happen, they knew they had to share the truth and help pit bulls in Chicago."