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Blackhawks' Ward excited to play in 'sold-out building' after 13 years in Carolina

Grant Halverson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Cam Ward enjoyed life in Carolina, but he's optimistic about a change of scenery after signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Ward joins a club that has won three Stanley Cups since 2010, and boasts a fervid fan base.

"That gives me goosebumps, knowing you're coming to a city, to an organization, to a fan base that really loves and has a passion for hockey," Ward told John Dietz of the Daily Herald. "I'm excited about going to the United Center."

Following Ward's 13-year run with the Hurricanes, Scott Darling's addition last offseason forced him to look elsewhere for work.

In Chicago, he's still seen as a secondary option, but he could take on increased playing time as starter Corey Crawford works his way back from injury.

His Carolina tenure included a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy, back in 2006. But the sweet times in Carolina have been few and far between since, as the team last qualified for the postseason in 2009. He's happy to join a club with championship ambitions.

"As players, we thrive in atmospheres like that. At least I do," Ward added. "I love to go into a building where you can count on fans being in the seats.

"We have a lot of loyal and great fans in Carolina, but it's no secret that the attendance is always a little bit low. I'm looking forward to ... playing in front of a sold-out building and passionate fans."

The Hurricanes averaged 13,320 in attendance last season, ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes and New York Islanders, while the Blackhawks topped the charts, packing more than 21,600 into their home barn.

As for Ward, he finished his last season in Carolina with a 23-14-4 record across 43 games, posting a .906 save rate and 2.73 GAA.

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