With Scott Darling having played in hockey leagues all over the country, his mom has taken to calling her son a gypsy.
But now Darling is on his way home.
On July 1, the stars aligned perfectly for the Lemont native as the 25-year old goalie inked a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
"It's really a dream come true," said Darling. "I've been playing pro now for four years, just slowly trying to work my way up the ranks. I had a good season last year and was hopeful for this year. When the Blackhawks came and talked to me, it was like there is no other team. I was joking that if I ever said no to the Blackhawks, my dad would disown me."
Darling is expected to head to training camp with the Blackhawks and be eventually assigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Currently he is in Boston, which he now makes his offseason home, training with Stop it Goaltending at Merrimack College.
"All I can do is play my best and see what happens," he said. "Hopefully I can make an impact during camp and then go to Rockford and play well. I'm excited to play for Rockford and if I ever get to play for Chicago, that would be amazing."
Two years ago during the NHL lockout, Darling got the opportunity to skate with some of the Blackhawks players during informal practices at Johnny's Icehouse in Chicago.
"Being a Blackhawks fan, it was awesome," he said. "Being on the ice with Sharpe and Kane and Toews and all the guys, I was able to size myself up against them."
A member of the Milwaukee Admirals a year ago, Darling posted a record of 13-6-2 with six shutouts in 26 contests. He finished the season with a 2.00 goals against average and .933 save percentage.
"I had some personal success," the goalie said. "I wasn't the No. 1 guy for Milwaukee but I knew that going in. I just tried to make the most of the opportunities I got and I was happy to be in the American league."
Darling grew up in Lemont, going to school on and off in the town from second grade through sophomore year in high school (Darling's older sisters Lauren and Sarah both graduated from Lemont high school). He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL draft by the Phoenix Coyotes before going to University of Maine for two seasons.
Since leaving Maine, the goalie has played for eight different teams.
"Obviously, you hope it would be a little easier," Darling said. "It would be nice to have somebody sign you after college and go from there. But looking back, it's been an amazing experience. Every league, every team, I've met a ton of guys and a ton of great people. I appreciate it that much more and I'm fortunate to be where I am."