Why I'm a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks
The winning has been great, but the sense of community has been even greater.
Welcome to the refreshed Second City Hockey! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Most people who talk about falling in love with a sports team have a romantic story of sorts. Maybe it was your dad taking you to hockey games all the time as a kid, or that one miracle season where everything came together and knocked you off your feet. In the same way couples talk about their first date, sports fans can talk about their own stories.
But I’m just gonna be honest here: I didn’t fall in love with the Blackhawks like that. My family didn’t care about hockey when I was a kid. My father is an avid golfer, and we often watched the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, and White Sox together. But never hockey — at best, it was the No. 5 sport behind basketball, baseball, football, and golf in our house.
There’s one big reason for that: the Blackhawks weren’t on TV most of the time. This is a well-tread topic at this point, but the Blackhawks didn’t really start acting like a big-market professional sports franchise until Rocky Wirtz took over for his notoriously stingy father in the middle of the 2000s.
Then the Blackhawks drafted some young stars and finally started building a winner. I still admittedly did not care, partially because I was a high school kid caught up in girls and partying and playing Halo 3 on Xbox Live. The Blackhawks were also still earning back their reputation in a town that had more or less brushed them aside.
The 2010 Stanley Cup run only mildly stands out in my brain. I remember it partially because it was the last summer before I went to college for the first time. One of my close friends, a diehard Cubs fan, had gone all-in on the Blackhawks, so we watched a lot of the games together.
You’re probably expecting that THIS would be my moment as a Hawks fan, then. Patrick Kane’s game-winning goal against the Flyers to clinch the Stanley Cup is one of the most important in franchise history. But it’s not what made me such a big Blackhawks fan.
Rather than continuing on with these examples, I’m just gonna fast forward to the reality of the matter: I fell in love with Blackhawks hockey by taking this site manager job from Travis Hughes in the fall of 2014, and ingratiating myself in the culture of a growing fan base that’s passionate.
I never truly loved the Blackhawks until I saw how much everyone else did.
Lots of people fall in love with a team because of their family. For me, the commenters at SCH, the people I interact with on Twitter, the other journalists and writers who have been so supportive — that’s what I love most about being a Blackhawks fan. You guys are my hockey family, and I wouldn’t be following this silly league so closely if you all didn’t want to come on that adventure with me.
And yes, of course the winning solidified those bonds. Being on the United Center ice after the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win in 2015 is one of the top highlights of my writing career so far. Celebrating that playoff run was incredibly fun.
But the Blackhawks were winning in 2010, too, and I didn’t feel the same bond then that I do now. So it can’t possibly just be that. It’s about all of us having a good time together, sharing an interest in something. Sounds pretty kickass to me.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.