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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports BankWith over an estimated one-third of American adults defined as obese, something corrective must clearly be done. Educating the next generation is one way to help fight off this epidemic. On Thursday, the Blackhawks announced a major initiative towards fighting childhood obesity: a partnership with Nettelhorst, a Chicago Public School. The campaign began this Thursday, Oct. 30, when Chicago Blackhawks team president John McDonough served as ‘Principal for a Day’ at the school. McDonough toured the facilities and classrooms and interacted with the students. “It’s a privilege for me to be able to visit with the students of The Nettelhorst School and help launch such a special partnership,” he said.

 Chicago Blackhawks Charities donated $200,000 and various team sports equipment to Nettelhorst, and will additionally create a fitness center, floor hockey court, and inter-school floor hockey league for area schools in the future. McDonough elaborated on the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle: “It really makes for a good student, and for somebody who’s going to be achieving a lot of things in life.”

The program’s goal is to instill a sense of leadership, self-esteem and self-confidence driven by active individual fitness and team sports experiences. “We admire the Blackhawks’ thought-leadership and proactive mindset in creating a partnership with Nettelhorst to offset the hardships created by decreasing government funding,” School Principal Cindy Wulbert said.

McDonough has participated in 12 ‘Principal for a Day,’ programs, which were created for community leaders to involve themselves and their organizations or associations in continued support throughout the year at their school. For adults, numerous local recreational sport and social leagues offer commercial winter floor hockey leagues, a very productive means for burning calories during the colder months.
I also participated in “Principal for a Day” yesterday too. Representing the Chicago 2016 Channel, I reported on Olympic Boxer and former WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz returning to his alma mater, Carl Von Linne School.

For more Chicago Sports Analysis and discussion.

For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

In the midst of last season, former Blackhawks Head Coach Dennis Savard made an infamous rant where he called on his players to specifically be “committed to the Indian.” ”They’ve got to commit to the Indian,” Savard fumed. ”If they don’t want to commit to the Indian, let’s go upstairs and we’ll get ’em out of here.” Of course, a little over two weeks ago we learned that the Indian was not committed to Savard. On October 16th, Savard with a record of 1-2-1, was dismissed. In 147 games as Hawks coach Savard posted a 65-66-16 record. He was replaced by Joel Quenneville, former coach of the Colorado Avalanche, and scout for the organization. Under Quenneville the Hawks are 2-1-2 heading into tonight’s matchup with the Dallas Stars.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank
During the past year, Chicago’s National Hockey League team has been on a tremendous promotional roll. They scored a public relations hat trick this past summer with the announcement of new broadcast partnerships, the NHL’s first ever fan convention and the announcement of Wrigley Field hosting the NHL’s Annual Outdoor Winter Classic. The new t-shirts reading “Don’t Toews (pronounced TAYVES) me Bro,” should also help win over a few more fans. The Hawks kept the marketing momentum rolling with their first ever Training Camp Festival at the United Center on Saturday. The all day event featured a Hawks practice session, the “Mad Dash to Madison” 5K Run/Walk/Skate, a 3-On-3 Street Hockey Tournament in the UC parking lot, live music, and an interactive games area. This area included, naturally every type of table hockey you could imagine. Here I spoke with Hawks die-hard Kathleen Kelly, 26 of Tinley Park. “It’s such a beautiful day, and it’s great that the Hawks provided all this great stuff here and fun things to do. And there’s the hockey going on inside of course too,” Kelly said. The hockey she referred to was the Hawks first practice of the season. The three intra-squad scrimmages, was what most of the thousands of people paid their $5 to see.

Hawks Coach Dennis Savard addressed the media. “There’s a buzz in Chicago, but there’s a buzz around the league too. They talk about the changes the Hawks have made and how their fans are coming back. The fans choose to come back because they see great things are going on here,” Savard told me. Later I would observe the interior of the Hawks locker room, where the slogan “EARN IT” is emblazoned above the tunnel to the ice. “We’re getting our fans back and we got to go out and earn their respect. We want ‘em here every night for the next decade, or two decades,” Savard stated.

The September 23rd Preseason game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets had just 200 tickets remaining as of Monday. There certainly is a buzz at the box office!

For more Chicago Sports analysis and discussion click here.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

On Tuesday night black and white come together as the Chicago White Sox will host “Chicago Blackhawks Night,” the signature event in the partnership between the Major League Baseball team and the Blackhawks of the NHL. I’ll be attending the festivities tomorrow night as the Sox fittingly take on the team (the Toronto Blue Jays) from the city where the Hockey Hall of Fame is. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of interesting post-game/event material to write about too. This night game, broadcasted on Comcast Sports Net, will feature special promotions before, during and after including: a pre-game party and parade for Blackhawks season ticket holders (more than a 1,000 of which purchased tickets to the game through a unique cross-promotion collaborated by both teams’ marketing departments) appearances by Blackhawks players and legends, a special outdoor television broadcast by White Sox announcers Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson from the Fan Deck above center field, and a rare mid-week post-game fireworks show.

The Hawks front office released this statement. “The Blackhawks are appreciative of the unique opportunity to showcase our product to White Sox fans,” said Jay Blunk, Blackhawks senior vice president of business operations. “The marriage of both brands creates a very unique template for cross promotion and marketing which we hope to maintain for years to come. The White Sox event and relationship is one more step in making the Chicago Blackhawks brand accessible 12 months a year.”

The Sox front office is excited too. “We are excited about Blackhawks Night at the ballpark,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer. “The Hawks and Sox are a perfect match in Chicago sports. With similar fan bases and visions, this partnership has been exceptionally successful in bringing two legendary Chicago sports brands together.”

I think I’ll have a wing-ding of a time! Get it? “wing-ding” like the hockey player position! Thanks I’ll be here all week.

For more Chicago sports analysis and talk go here.

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The Sports Bank, NBC5 Street Team 2008 continues to be an eventful and exciting time for the Chicago Blackhawks organization and their fans. Last month Patrick Kane was named NHL Rookie of the Year; the team made a huge splash in free agency by signing All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell, and on July 16th it was announced that the Chicago Blackhawks will host their rival the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in NHL Winter Classic 2009 on New Year’s Day. No two NHL opponents have played more regular-season games against each other, and their 701st meeting will be just the third outdoor game in league history. Also, the first annual fan convention will take place at the Hilton Towers on Michigan Avenue this weekend. Event festivities include autograph and photo sessions with current Blackhawks stars such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, former stars like Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, and Tony Esposito, Q&A sessions with current Blackhawks management, broadcasters and alumni, coaches and front office staff detailing their Stanley Cup strategy, exhibitions, interactive games, a live HawkCast (podcast) taping.  $50 weekend convention passes sold out in mere hours. Opening Ceremonies will begin Friday at 5. Saturday festivities run 9 am – 7pm and Sunday 9 am – 2pm.

For more on hockey nerd heaven, I sought the opinion of Stan Bowman, Assistant General Manager, Hockey Operations. Bowman is a frequent guest on “Hawkcast,” the team’s official weekly podcasts, an authority on player scouting and development and even housed Patrick Kane during his rookie year.  His father Scotty Bowman is the all-time winningest head coach in NHL history. 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.”

For the full Bowman interview click here. For more Chicago Sports analysis and discussion click here.

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