This past week, TSN analyst Craig Button wrote a story on his Hockey Bucket List of some of the most unique venues in all hockey.
Inspired by this, I've taken the time to write out a Blackhawks bucket list, and see what other experiences you all might be dreaming of.
1. Blackhawks Convention
The event that signifies an end to the long hockeyless-summer blues. The Blackhawks organization has taken this concept from other leagues and created a one-of-a-kind experience for fans. Whether it is meeting a favorite player and getting a puck signed or listening to a Blackhawks legend speak about the old days, it's something that every fan needs to go to. Plus if the 'Hawks win the Cup, it will be there.
2. Training Camp Festival
The Blackhawks first skate at the United Center after a short training camp at Notre Dame. Watch a live practice and scrimmage which includes seeing the organization's prospects that will be in Rockford at the AHL level. There are Blackhawks alumni, live music and entertainment for all. Heck, they even held a 5K run/skate around the United Center.
3. Home Opener
I went to the Cubs and Fire home openers last year and it was great experience despite the 40 degree temperatures and that they both lost. There was this optimistic feeling in the air that transcended the entire day leading up to the first pitch/kick. Jokes aside about those two teams, I think a 'Hawks home opener would be thrilling.
4. Jersey Retirement Ceremony
Whether it is Steve Lamar, Jeremy Roenick, or Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews down the line, this is a must see. If you've been to one give us a description in the comment section.
5. Meet a Hall of Famer
They are the best of the best and some of the greatest athletes to represent Chicago. Blackhawk fans are lucky that there are a few choose from and likely a few more decades down the road. I met Stan Mikita in 2010 at a One Goal book signing event.
6. Attend a playoff game
The pace picks up and the atmosphere leaves you on the edge of your seat (assuming you have a seat) at playoff games. I went to the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 6 and it was easily the best professional sports event experience I've had.
7. Stanley Cup Final Game
From the start of the season to the end. Attending a playoff game was great, the fact that the Blackhawks clinched the series against the rival St. Louis Blues, all the better. Now to see it when it matters the most -- Stanley Cup Final. It would be even better to see the Blackhawks win it in Chicago. A feat they have never done (the first two Cups were won in Chicago, but the then-Black Hawks).
8. Touch the Stanley Cup
The Blackhawks won the Cup and now you've got to get your hands on the greatest trophy in all of sports. This is more of a general hockey bucket list item, but when your favorite team wins it, it's better.
9. Championship Parade
In the past 10 years, Chicago has held six championship parades: Three for the Bulls, two for the Blackhawks and one for the White Sox. Chicagoans are quite lucky, in that fact, there's the opportunity for a few more for the Blackhawks and with an estimated three million lining the street for the 2013 Cup Parade, it's an experience any Blackhawks fan can't pass up. Sunburn be damned.
10. Palace Grill
In 1938, Chicago won its second Cup and that same year the then-DeMars Grill opened. The name of the restaurant later changed to the Palace Grill in the 50s. In 1955, current owner George Lemperis' father bought the restaurant. Lemperis has been the owner for 35 years now and has donned its walls with Blackhawks memorabilia. The Blackhawks players and staff have been known to stop for some food as well. Lemperis even was given the OK to hoist the Cup, a honor rarely given to those outside of the organization. Stop by the Palace and enjoy some great breakfast food, Leslie Knope would be proud of, at the official Blackhawks restaurant just minutes from the United Center.
So what would you all put on your Blackhawks bucket lists? The chance to have a beer with Kaner? Or to go to a rock concert with Corey Crawford? Anything's up for grabs, so share your lists in the comments!
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