This weekend, the Blackhawks will host their second annual fan convention. And they’ll do so with a just newly minted General Manager in Stan Bowman. Around this time last year, they hosted the first annual convention in NHL History. Preceding the ’08 convention, I had an exclusive in Bowman’s office when he held the title of Assistant General Manager, Hockey Operations.
In my exclusive interview, Stan Bowman described this weekend’s convention thusly: “In hockey no team has ever done it before and just the reception we’ve gotten from it in that it sold out so quickly and lots of people wanting tickets and people wanting to come see it. It’s going to a good setup for everybody. It’s similar in style and format to the Cubs convention; obviously John McDonough is the one who pioneered the concept back in the early 80s, and it’s taken off to the point where it’s a big event and that’s where the hockey one is going too,” Bowman said.
His father Scotty Bowman is the all-time winningest head coach in NHL history. The Convention will be held at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave) from Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 19, with over 10,000 fans expected to attend.
The event, which is the first of its kind in the National Hockey League, will feature over 25 players and coaches from the current roster, more than 25 members of the Blackhawks Alumni along with team broadcasters and team executives. The weekend includes 20 Q&A panels with players and front office staff, several autograph and photo opportunities, an area dedicated to interactive games and over 60 vendors.
Other highlights of the weekend include:
• The “Blackhawks Bash,” in the International Ballroom on Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M., which includes music, singing and dancing.
• The “Locker Room Sale” in the Northeast Hall throughout the weekend, featuring live and silent auctions of Blackhawks memorabilia.
• Five generations of Blackhawks captains, including Jonathan Toews, Stan Mikita, Denis Savard, Tony Amonte and Pierre Pilote compare eras and share stories in the Grand Ballroom on Saturday at 9:00 A.M.
• Newly acquired forwards Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky will be introduced to the fans at a panel on Saturday in the Grand Ballroom at 10:15 A.M.
• 2009 NHL All-Stars Brian Campbell, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews discuss their time at the league’s mid-season classic this past January in the International Ballroom on Saturday at 11:30 A.M.
• Play-By-Play Announcer Pat Foley shares his experiences from 27 years of broadcasting in the Grand Ballroom on Saturday at 12:45 P.M.
• Newly appointed Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman and his father Scotty discuss the family “business” in the Continental Ballroom on Sunday
at 9:00 A.M.