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