This is my half-assed attempt at covering the Blackhawks Convention for the 2009/2010 season, providing you with impressions and personal highlights of the BC-'09.
I have received two free passes from a friend of mine who works for the PR department of UC Hospitals and she worked on those medical commercials we saw during home games. According to her, VERSTEEG! is a brain-of-curdled-cheese-Canuck-farmboy idiot and Wiz has "the most perfectly developed legs (she) had ever seen outside of comic books." Yeah, Gail's cool.
I gave my second pass to my brother, Joe, another lifelong 'Hawks fan. My dad raised me on a solid diet of 'Hawks history from the 50's and 60's; Bro Joe supplied me with all there is to know about the 70's and early 80's. I picked up the passes and the psych had begun.
We get down to the hotel and it is not crowded, but there are no directions posted anywhere. There was one map posted in the large main corridor, but no "You Are Here" or too many landmarks laid out. But anybody can find the International Ballroom, so Joe and I make our way up inside. It was half full by this point and SRO, which I found...interesting. I figured, for some odd reason, that there would be benches, maybe even chairs. I don't know why I thought this, but I did. Joe and I geeked out a bit, and he leaves to get a smoke. It turns out that, should you leave for anything besides a serious injury that you cannot return. They don't tell you this as you are leaving the room, of course; why should they? McDollar already has your money. At this point you are allowed to go screw.
In the SRO ballroom there is a large screen replaying all of the 'Hawks internet stuff and intermission videos; chuckle-worthy, to be sure. All of this is only feeding my Hawk Geek and build my anticipation.
Finally, Edzo makes his appearance as MC and introduces the alumni. There's a great collection this year that spans the greatest eras of our team, and some great players are getting recognition. Lou Angotti, Tony Amonte, Cliff Koroll, Ab McDonald, and my dad's favorite defenseman, Eric Nesterenko, are players I didn't expect to see, but it is great that they are here.
After the alumni comes the part I have been waiting for; it's time to introduce the office. I came here to see the reception given to the Bowmans and John McDollar and I was not disappointed. Where I stood, no one cheered for the Bowmans; no clapping, no fanfare. And when Mc Dollar came out, he was booed. Not just booed, but BOOOOOOOOOOOED!!! Of course, Rocky was cheered like a conquering hero, and was smiling the whole time. What a fun place that front office must be, no?
When the players came out, I was struck that they introduced Jack Skille and Kyle Beach; are these two going to see some ice time this year? I hope so, because Skille is really fast and can score; Beach is fucking HUGE! He looks bigger than Biscuit. After Kopecky and Hossa are introduced, the crowd chants "Detroit Sucks!" for the second time that night, this time for a good twenty seconds. Tazer gives a decent speech; you can tell this kid is being groomed to be a captain for life here.
After the speeches, I get reunited with dear brother and pick up the swag bag. I finally have a schedule and will make plans for Saturday accordingly. The sellers area is pretty good, with some great merch available for my money, but that can wait until tomorrow, I tell myself. When that autographed picture of Tony Amonte and JR is gone tomorrow, I will have no one to blame but myself.
Overall, the first night was pretty good; I hope to check into as many of the conferences as I can today, with more to report later.