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Thoughts on the Blackhawks Convention

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I knew this year’s Blackhawks Convention would be insanely crowded since they’re total studs now for winning the Stanley Cup.  I also knew that I probably shouldn’t even think about going because those insane crowds would just annoy me and be the source of severe anxiety for me.  But when a friend of mine said she’d scored some passes and a one-night stay at the Hilton (the site of the Convention), and the price was reasonable, I just couldn’t bring myself to say no.

I should have just said no.  Actually, I take that back.  If I hadn’t gone, I would not have met Denis Savard again, and he would not have signed my jersey for my daughter.  But I promise that I will not attend another Blackhawks Convention if I can help it.  Some issues I had that need to be rectified:

1 – Crowd management and control.  This is needed especially for people waiting outside the various ballrooms to gain entrance to the scheduled panels.  Once the doors to the ballroom open, people start pushing and shoving.  I’m surprised I saw no fights break out (Lord knows I wanted to knock out a few people….).

2 – Signage indicating entrance/exit into/out of the ballrooms.  This kind of goes along with #1.  People not knowing by which doors to stand and wait caused some of the pushing and shoving.  True story:  there was a panel in progress in one ballroom and we wanted to get into the next scheduled panel in the same ballroom, so we were waiting outside the doors.  We were toward the front of the line and a pretty good line of people had formed behind us.  A few minutes before the on-going panel was to be let out, a Hilton employee told us we had to move out of the way because the doors we were standing near were the exit doors for the people in the ballroom.  That meant we had to go and stand by the other doors where another long line had formed.  It was unfair that we’d been waiting there so long, unknowingly at the wrong doors, and then we had to go to the back of the other line, thereby putting in jeopardy our admission into the ballroom.

3 – Fan questions for the panels.  I’m all about fan/player interaction, but some of the questions during the panels were so irrelevant, some even inappropriate.  This was especially true during the 2010 Olympics:  A Golden Moment panel, which was made up of Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Patrick Kane – ya know, the young studs on the team.  It was mostly girlfans asking ridiculous questions, not even about the Olympics, one even asking to present Keith with a gift from her and her sister.  If fan questions can’t be omitted entirely, then at least have someone there to first screen the questions before the fans are allowed in front of the microphone.

4- Player inaccessibility.  One of the draws of the Convention is the opportunity to see the players up close, in regular clothes, and to interact with them.  The current Convention set-up allows for no interaction at all, outside of the autograph singings for which attendees must first obtain a wristband.  Before and after the panels and autograph sessions, the players are ushered in and out by a security entourage, as if they are dignitaries or major Hollywood celebrities.  That just made the players seem even more distant and inaccessible.

I still love my Blackhawks and always will.  Since it’s near impossible to get game tickets, too, I guess I’ll just have to settle for watching the games and seeing the players on television.

Posted by Francesca

Highlight of the Blackhawks Convention

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Cherish forever, originally uploaded by Francesca….

The 3rd Annual Blackhawks Convention just wrapped up. I attended for the second, and probably my last, time – but more on that later. The highlight of the entire event, for me, was getting to once again meet my childhood hockey hero, Denis Savard.

I had to first wait in line to get a wristband for the scheduled Savard autograph signing, and then later on, I had to wait in line again for the actual autograph. Kind of annoying but it was better than having to deal with people pushing and fighting to get ahead of me in line (again, more on that later). Others in line had photos or hockey cards of Savard that they wanted him to sign; I had my very first Blackhawks jersey, which is a good 20-25 years old. My parents bought it for me when I was about 10 years old because Savard was my idol. I wore that jersey constantly; I probably would have slept in it if my parents had let me. I’ve long outgrown the jersey but held on to it for sentimental reasons. When Lucia was born, I decided I’d save it for her – it could be HER first Blackhawks jersey, too.

After waiting for over two hours, it finally was my turn to go up on the little stage to the signing table. I unfurled the jersey and placed it on the table. Savard and his security buddy seated next to him had the same reaction when they saw it: “Wowwwwww!” I said to Savard, “This is my very first Blackhawks jersey. My parents got it for me when I was like 10. Now I want to pass it on to my daughter.” He asked me, “What’s your daughter’s name? I’ll sign it to her.” So I told him “Lucia”, and of course I had to spell it for him. He signed with a silver Sharpie on the 8 (of 18) on the back of the jersey, “To Lucia / Good luck / Denis Savard 18 / HOF 2000”. As he was signing he said, “Now when Lucia has kids, if I’m still alive, I’ll sign it for them over here [motioning to the 1 on the back of the jersey].” When he was all finished signing he said to me, “Good thinking to keep that jersey. Keep the tradition going. You’re a good mom.” I wanted to cry when he said that to me. That is the ultimate compliment for this new, hockey-crazed mom, even more so coming from my all-time favorite player and childhood idol! Savard stuck out his hand to shake mine and then I just about floated off that stage. Denis Savard still is my hockey hero.

I need to vent

Friday, May 22nd, 2009
After listening to broadcasters and commentators from two different networks (Versus and CBC [Hockey Night in Canada]), I've realized that the media and the rest of the hockey world believe that the Blackhawks have no chance against Detroit in this ... [Continue reading this entry]

Blackhawks’ “One Goal” commercial

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
This commercial gives me the chills. If I were one of those kids, I'd have passed out from seeing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane at my hockey practice.  But it's refreshing to see the advancement of youth ... [Continue reading this entry]

Blackhawks Training Camp Festival

Thursday, September 18th, 2008
This Saturday, September 20th, is the first ever Blackhawks Training Camp Festival at the United Center. Admission is $5 and it includes entry into the United Center for a Blackhawks' public practice and all other activities at the ... [Continue reading this entry]

A note to Ozzie Guillen, the sore loser

Saturday, June 21st, 2008
Aw, Ozzie, all you can do after the Cubs win one game against your squad is talk trash about Wrigley Field. How classy of you. Complaining about the rats in the tunnel where the batting cages are... ... [Continue reading this entry]

Blackhawks to play outdoor game at Wrigley

Saturday, May 31st, 2008
This is the best news ever!! The Blackhawks reportedly will play an outdoor, non-exhibition game (meaning it will count in the regular season standings) against the Detroit Red Wings on January 1, 2009, at Wrigley Field. How ... [Continue reading this entry]

Thoughts from the first 2008 visit to Wrigley

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
Before last night, it had been almost two years since I went to my last Cubs home game. It was good to be back at Wrigley and see the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5. Felicia and I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Season ends for the Blackhawks

Sunday, April 6th, 2008
Today I took down the 2007-08 Blackhawks schedule that was hanging on the refrigerator for their season has come to an end. The Hawks ended it on a very high note, coming quite close to grabbing that last playoff ... [Continue reading this entry]

My ongoing love affair

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
I love hockey. I have since I was about four years old. I wish I could explain what first drew me to the sport at such a young age. All I can remember is shooting a tennis ... [Continue reading this entry]