Posts Tagged ‘blackhawks fan convention’

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

During the past year of covering the Chicago Blackhawks, I’ve discussed one distinctive, but vastly underreported ritual that takes place inside the Blackhawks’ locker room. On that carpeted floor is a beautiful, large Indian head logo; and if any one steps on it, a curse or pox shall come upon them! One day, I did my best to avoid stepping on it while also trying to navigate a media throng, and since I have the gracefulness of Clark W. Griswold, I nearly fell on my face. A locker room usher observed, didn’t care about my almost falling, and simply said “You almost stepped on it there.” I once saw a camera man step on it, prompting a couple reporters to shout “DEATH.”

At the 2009 Hawks Convention at Chicago’s Hilton towers, this tradition was discussed at the breakout session entitled “Inside the Locker Room.”

“We play for that Indian head, we work for that Indian head. And Savvy put it best: you commit to the Indian- maybe I shouldn’t say that, he got in trouble for that. That’s what we do every day trainers, Troy {Murray, Hawks television commentator} up in the booth, I’m sure you’ve heard Troy get pretty passionate up there. I know I have, but you stay off it, it’s just respect that goes with anything. hawksconvention2

As far as superstition, everyone has their little things…But as far as big things, know to stay off the Indian head and you’ll be alright,” said Blackhawks Equipment Manager Troy Parchman. He was joined by Blackhawks players Ben Eager, Aaron Johnson, and Niklas Hjarmmson in a session moderated by Murray. Also a part of the panel was Equipment assistant Clinton Reif.

“This year, in the playoffs especially, when things got crowded in there they had to do something a little bit special because everyone who was around the team on a regular basis knows that you don’t step on that Indian,” Reif said. And that something special included putting up tensa-barriers on the floor surrounding the logo when the Hawks advanced further along in the playoffs, and more media showed up in each round of the postseason. Just typing about stepping on it reminds me of “Ghostbusters,” when they were told just “crossing the streams,” will make something catastrophic occur.

“The players take that very seriously. When a reporter would be in there, they would get it pretty good if someone walked across it. I wouldn’t say it was a lack of respect by those people, they just didn’t know. A lot of other teams in the league have that in their carpet, and I can’t tell of one that feels free to walk across it. I’m pretty sure that everyone does the same thing: you just stay off the logo,” Parchman reiterated.


See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

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.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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