17 November 2011

Recruitment for Blackhawks fandom

A Twitter friend of mine recently posted that with the NBA lockout, she was open to suggestions to whether or not she should a) start following the NHL, and b) to where she should direct her allegiance. I then took it upon myself to write an email making a case for the Chicago Blackhawks. The following is the result:

Subject: My case for you becoming a fan of the Blackhawks

History. The Blackhawks were one of the Original Six of the NHL, and outside of the other 5 teams, they outdated the rest of the NHL by 41 years (the first expansion of the NHL didn't occur until 1967) During this time they won 3 Stanley Cups, and haven't forgotten about them, as 4 of the members of the 1961 Cup-winning team are Blackhawks Ambassadors.

Talent. Chicago has locked up a solid core of players on both offense (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa) and defense (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson) all under contract for at least the next 3 years, and with the exception of Hossa, all of those named are under age 30. They won the Stanley Cup as recently as 2010, and after a salary cap-induced gutting of the team in 10-11, are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference.

Player Development. A large amount of the roster are players that were originally drafted by the Blackhawks. After winning the Stanley Cup with a rookie goalie (Antti Niemi) and watching him leave, Chicago was able to replace him with a near-elite netminder in Corey Crawford, who although is only 22nd in GAA, is counted on a more consistent basis, making 15 starts in 19 games (most teams are just a little above 50-50).

Local support. Chicago leads the NHL in home attendance, frequently packing the United Center for Standing Room Only capacity, and have sold out every game since the beginning of the 2007-08 season. Blackhawks fans also travel well, as chants of "Let's Go Hawks!" are frequently heard around the league.

Other tidbits:

Chicago is close enough to Iowa to make a road trip to catch a game, something you've shown you're willing to do because you came for a White Sox-Twins game.

The Blackhawks logo/uniform was named best in the NHL

Eye candy. Ahem, I give you Patrick Sharp, who was named on of the 50 most beautiful Chicagoans earlier this year, Jonathan Toews, and Brent Seabrook.

There's not a more recognizable National Anthem performance than that of Jim Cornelison, whom you might remember from theNFC Championship game last year (Lee DeWyze was originally scheduled to sing it, but Cornelison replaced him after an outcry of support.)

Let me know what you think and if there's anything more I can do to help you become a Blackhawks Fan.

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