HINSDALE – The first contraction hit Donna Lebano during the second period of the Blackhawks game on Thursday.
“No way was I leaving,” said Lebano, who was eight-months pregnant. “We are a Hawks family. I had to see the end of the game.”
She did see the end of the game, and Chicago beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1 to win the first-round playoff series four games to one and advance to the next round. The minute the game was over, Lebano was driven to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital by her three sisters, who were timing her contractions the whole way.
Her water broke minutes after she arrived at the hospital around 1 a.m. Friday. Owen Michael was born only two hours later at 3:12 a.m., weighing 6-pounds, 5-ounces and 19.5 inches long. Donna Lebano said the excitement of the game probably caused her to go into labor.
“There were five goals in that game,” she said. “That’s a lot of jumping and cheering. Once the contractions started, I was so afraid I was going to give birth at the United Center.”
Donna’s husband, Charles, was at home in Lemont when he received a text from his wife. She told him not to panic, but she thought she was going into labor and there was no way she was going to leave the game before it ended.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Charles, who was at home with Owen’s big brother, 19-month-old Christian. “And now look at him. I can already tell Owen is going to be a big Hawks fan and probably a professional hockey player himself.”
Owen’s outfit helps. Dressed in a Blackhawks rookie outfit and surrounded by his parents in Blackhawks jerseys, Owen’s nickname is “Hossa” after Blackhawks great Marian Hossa, the favorite player of Donna’s father, Leo Wilczek.
Wilczek raised his children to be huge Blackhawks fans. He died less than two years ago and this was the first game his daughters Basia Wilczek, Eva Wilczek and Mary Anne Wilczek went to.
“My dad loved Hossa and the Hawks and I know he’s smiling down on us,” said Donna Lebano. “Owen is such a great baby, very patient. We’re doing fantastic and we think of Owen as Hossa’s hat trick. Two goals in a playoff game and a baby delivered moments after getting to the hospital is an epic hat trick.”