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Blackhawks Convention Notebook

A recap of some of the fun moments from the Blackhawks Fan Convention this weekend.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

I wasn't at the Fan Convention in person, but through the wonders of modern streaming technology I managed to catch some of the events and panels. The Convention kicked off with Eddie Olczyck introducing the staff, alumni and players, and of course the Stanley Cup, to the crowd. He also paid a tribute to those members of the Blackhawks family lost in the last year, including Clint Reif. On a lighter note, Andrew Shaw was mic’d up for the opening ceremonies.

Jonathan Toews was on just one panel this year, "Reliving the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs", where he explained how he converted Andrew Desjardins to health shakes, and blamed Patrick Kane for the lack of a dance-off this year (Kane, in an interview with CSN Chicago, pointed the finger at Toews, entirely predictably).

The "#What’sYourGoal" panel related how the commercials of that name were chosen and put together, and why certain players were chosen for a particular spot. For example, Patrick Kane explained that his commercial has a special connection to him as he comes from a community where many of the kids grow up to be firefighters. The firefighter mentioned that Kane spent an hour hanging out at the fire station and sitting in a fire truck after delivering the pizza.

There was a touching moment as Christina came up on stage with the panelists and got a hug from Bryan Bickell. She pretty much stole the show with her excitement.

Alexis the Girl Scout from Jonathan Toews’ spot was also present, and informed the crowd that her new goal is to sell cookies to her mom’s favorite player, Corey Crawford.

My favorite panel was "Showtime" with Patrick Kane and Denis Savard. The two became close whenever Savard was coaching the Blackhawks, and their genuine affection and respect for each other really shone through. They discussed their playing styles and how learning to play a two-way game affected them as primarily offensive players. Kane talked about how Hossa helped him when he was playing center because his defense and backchecking is so good, and what a great guy he is off the ice and in the locker room.

Savard had a couple fun anecdotes about Kane; how Kane used to attempt a spinorama but fail to score on it, and when he finally did Savard texted him reminding him how many he had to score to catch up with Savard.

Another, rather topical story: rookie Kane lost his guy on the backcheck, leading to a goal against. Savard yelled at him that he must have been distracted, looking at two pretty blonde girls who were sitting behind the bench. After the game Kane was late getting to the team bus because he was talking to the same girls and got yelled at again. The next day Kane went to Savard’s office to give his defense: "You know who the two girls were? One of them was Taylor Swift." Savard still didn’t know who Taylor Swift was and had to ask his wife.

The last panel of the day was "Best of Blackhawks TV", where Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell relived the embarrassing moments of the past as they helped to make videos such as "Exercise your right to vote". According to Adam Kempenaar, Versteeg is now completely transformed into Macklemore after his performance at the rally this summer.

Sunday’s panels started off with "Meet the New Blackhawks". All the new guys mentioned the anthem at the United Center as something they’re looking forward to experiencing as a Blackhawk.

  • Trevor Daley is glad he doesn’t need to face Patrick Kane on 2-on-1s any more.
  • Vinny Hinostroza talked about what it was like growing up playing youth hockey in the Chicago area and how it became more popular with the Blackhawks resurgence (Fun fact, his family is from Ecuador).
  • Viktor Tikhonov speaks perfect English (he explained it by saying he was training to be a spy), as he spent his childhood living all over the USA and Europe as his father moved with his coaching career.
  • Marko Dano seemed a little overwhelmed, whether by the attention or by having to answer questions in English, but was all smiles whenever he was asked a question about being teammates with Marian Hossa next season.
  • Kyle Baun mentioned that Andrew Shaw had helped him settle in and make the transition to pro hockey. He also likened his game to Shaw’s.

The last panel was a "Kids Only Press Conference". Peggy Kusinski did an impressive job of keeping both the young fans and the players from digressing. Bickell, Shaw, David Rundblad and Trevor van Riemsdyk all seemed to have a lot of fun teasing each other about Bickell’s love of fishing, Shaw’s header non-goal, and Rundblad’s alleged fear of spiders, getting stitches and running out of hair product.

I liked this question - for the record, TVR says he is better friends with Kane because of the connection via his brother JVR:

Did any of you guys attend the convention? Feel free to share your experience in a fanpost!