How former Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland and Vince Vaughn became close friends


You might remember seeing actor Vince Vaughn getting pumped up in the front row during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs and you may recall the image of him giving a certain former Canucks goalie the business during the first round of 2011's playoffs. But what was transpiring behind the scenes with the famed Blackhawks fan during the summer of 2010 was even more unforgettable according to his friends.

Vaughn was shooting "The Dilemma" in Chicago during the summer of 2010. The film starred himself, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder with Ron Howard directing it. 

2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup champ Dave Bolland stayed in Chicago after the Hawks won in 2010 and met Vince one day at the United Center. Bolland was working out when someone from the marketing department with the Blackhawks asked if he wanted an introduction to the star, who was filming at the UC.

"I was like, 'Yeah!' I remember watching Old School, that was one of my first movies when I came to London (Ontario) with the team (the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League). We went and watched Old School and everybody was dying laughing and on the ground," Bolland said.

Dave continued to see Vaughn at the UC when he was working out and Vince was shooting the movie. The former Hawks winger got to know the actor's friends Steve Byrne, a comedian who had a part in the movie, and Peter Billingsley, formerly "Ralphie" from A Christmas story and currently a Hollywood producer. 

Vaughn, Byrne, Billingsley, Bolland, comedian Bill Burr and then Chicago Bears' tight end Greg Olsen would have half-rink tournaments on the ice at the UC when they weren't shooting "The Dilemma". Dave also began hanging with the group after hours.

For Steve's 36th birthday Vince got Dave to surprise him with a stick signed by the entire 2010 team. 

Related: Two unbelievable Dave Bolland Stanley Cup stories

"He's just an all-around great person and a great guy," Bolland said of Vaughn. "He knows everything, he's smarter than hell. I learned a lot of things off of him, just little things. In general, he's a polite, down-to-earth guy that loves going out with the guys and having some fun. You meet some actors or some other people that are big stars and some of them have big heads, but Vince is a down-to-earth guy and he's just another regular person really."

According to Bolland, Vaughn possesses the same quick wit in real life that you see on-screen. 

"He's quick and witty, he can get ya," Dave said. "I don't really say much, because I know he could ponce on me pretty quick. I kind of get it with Steve. It's tough for me to get in there and say a joke with them because they're just like [that]. Steve and I always get at it sometimes, but Vince can turn quick there and he can get ya. When you get Vince and Steve and Peter Billingsley together, just three funny guys, they are hilarious."

Later on Dave would meet Vince and his crew in a private room in the basement of Prosecco, an upscale Italian restaurant located in Chicago's River North neighborhood, after games. 

"I know we had many great nights there just having some beers and just talking and having a great time. We had a lot of fun nights actually," Bolland said. "It was always great being around him. Vince is smart about the game as well. He would always correct me sometimes. He'd ask and he knew a lot about hockey, a lot about the game. It was crazy to see, he was into it."

Vaughn is definitely into hockey and was incredibly into the 2010 playoffs according to Byrne, who joined him for games. 

"We sat glass-side, in the corner. I remember him heckling players, he's very vocal as you know. He's very passionate and he likes to win," Byrne said. "Look, getting to go to any sporting event with Vince is unbelievable. He's the unofficial mayor at times when you walk around the city with that guy."

Vaughn's 2010 hockey excitement overflowed into gaming.

"We would play NHL in his theater room, it was this massive, massive screen and we'd play NHL from eight o'clock until three in the morning sometimes and John Hughes Jr. would come over and play us. We would all just talk about hockey, the NHL, the Hawks, etc. It was such an intoxicating, exciting time to be in Chicago," Steve said.

Byrne saw firsthand that Vince's competitive nature rivaled that of a future two-time Stanley Cup champion. 

"Some of my best memories in Chicago have been with Vince and Bolland, some of the other guys that played with the Hawks. I remember one time, we used to play WhirlyBall all the time, Vince and I would separate into teams and Dave would come and bring a lot of the guys with him, Dave and (Kris) Versteeg and maybe another Hawk or two and we split up into teams," Byrne said. "I remember, I had gotten married and my honeymoon was the next day at six in the morning. 

"So we go to WhirlyBall at 11 p.m. and we played three best of seven's because Vince and Dave were so competitive, and myself, we were on different teams. So we kept beating Vince and Vince was so furious he kept saying, 'Another out of seven, another out of seven.' And these guys... There's a bar there, we're drinking, my hands were so nicked up because people were throwing their rackets at each other, slicing each other. 

"My one friend, I don't know how it happened, his nipple got cut. He was like, 'How did my nipple get cut?' I mean people were hacking each other and I showed up at my house at 4:15 a.m. and my flight was leaving at six out of O'Hare and my wife was furious.

"I remember Colin Jost, who's on Weekend Update now, on SNL, came and he broke his hand on that punching bag machine at WhirlyBall because we're all punching it, seeing how tough we were. And Colin, you know, the Harvard kid, broke his hand on it."

Byrne was out of town one night in 2010 and missed a special celebration with Lord Stanley's Cup Vaughn wouldn't let him forget about. 

"I was so furious because I remember I was in Phoenix and they had won and Vince was eating dinner with Ron Howard at Prosecco's and they have this basement. And I remember that Coach Quenneville brought the Cup with him and I guess he was eating upstairs and heard Vince and Ron were downstairs and brought the Cup downstairs. 

"I think Ron Howard talked about it on the Tonight Show and he got to drink out of the Stanley Cup and Vince got to drink out of the Stanley Cup. And of course I'm in Phoenix in some dumpy green room eating mozzarella sticks and Vince is texting me pictures of him drinking from the Cup and he's like, 'I told you, you should have stayed here.'

A year or two after the 2010 run, Bolland recalls being amazed Vince's fame reached the location of Steve's bachelor party near the border of Florida and Alabama. 

"This is down south, I wouldn't think anybody would know Vince down there and we went out one night to this shack, this bar but it was like a shack. These people just basically took like wood that was off houses and they just built this bar. 

"We went in there and you wouldn't think Vince, that they would know him down there, but he's known everywhere, it's crazy," Bolland said. "We'd have to be put in the corner and have security guards around us. It is tough for him to go anywhere, but he's great about it. He's polite about it and he was always polite in every kind of way."

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