Here Come the Hawks!

The ninth annual Chicago Blackhawks Convention takes place today through Sunday, July 17th. Doors have already opened for registration, which began at noon. The event officially begins at 5:00 P.M. tonight.

10,000 fans are expected to descend upon the sold-out event during the weekend at the Hilton Chicago, according to the official press release given to official press (of which I am not,) and, by clicking this link,

No one is more excited to get this season started than the most enthusiastic Blackhawk player ever, Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Hjalmarsson excitement



I was not allowed access to Mr. Hjalmarrson personally, mostly because I never tried to contact him. But, if these photos I snipped from a video interview of Chicago Blackhawk Defenseman Nik Hjalmarsson #4, the day before the 2016 Winter Classic outdoor hockey Stadium Series, hosted by the Minneapolis Wild are any indication, this guy is pumped.

Hjalmarsson may or may not attend the conference, but we don’t know because, as the website above claims, “there will be special Blackhawks guests throughout the weekend.” Who knows? It could be this guy, standing with Hjalmarsson! *

Niklas Hjalmarsson!
Niklas Hjalmarsson!

My good friend, and, in my opinion, the best TV Color Analyst there is, ever was, or ever will be, Eddie (Mr “Stop it right there!”) Olczyk has been tapped to be The Master of Ceremonies and will host the opening ceremonies at 5:00 P.M. today in the hotel’s International Room.



I’ve never met the guy, but Richard got to meet him at some client thing through work. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify to go to these events. But, to make it up to me, Richard chatted with Eddie, and told him how cool I think it is that there are people who keep track and know what’s happening in the lives of every family member of the team, equipment managers, and anyone ever involved in the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. And, not only that, Pat and Eddie announce birthdays, and send out get-well wishes to family members who are ill. Most families don’t know that much about their own family!

Richard also told Eddie how much I appreciate, enjoy, and look forward to the very gentle way he shouts to the guy in the booth showing a replay, “Stop it right there!” This is when Eddie is at his best, in my opinion, because he uses replays as teachable moments.

After shouting, “Stop it right there!” Eddie says, “For all you young hockey players out there…” and then continues to use the replay to point out how players either make good moves to help the team score a goal, and on fewer instances, make less than stellar moves. Even though I’m neither young, or a hockey player, I always learn something new about hockey, and most importantly, teamwork.

Blackhawks hockey games are so important to our family, Richard actually drafted up a handbook of what we are and are not allowed to do, and say during games. For instance, if The Blackhawks score while I’m in the kitchen, when I return to the family room, I am immediately banished back up to the kitchen to watch the rest of the game with the dogs.

I don’t mind, though. I get it! I don’t want to be that person; the one who ruins the Blackhawks mojo. If the stick ain’t broke don’t fix it.

On game night, or before an 11:30 A.M. Sunday game (whose idea was that?) Richard always announces, “Blackhawk Rules Are in Effect,” as if we don’t know. If Richard has DVR’d the game, super-duper, double-secret-probation Blackhawk rules go into effect. Richard claims that just by walking past one of us, or, heaven forbid, looking us in the eye, he can tell that we’ve secretly checked the score of the game on our Chicago Blackhawk iPhone app, or perhaps, (for shame!) watched part of the game elsewhere, or even watched the entire game and know who won.

Check out the way my friend, and Cartoonist Extraordinaire, Sharon Rosenzweig, portrayed Richard in the cartoon above. His wardrobe consists of Blackhawks sweaters, golf togs, and suits.

Pat Foley, is, in my opinion, the perfect co-announcer for Eddie Olczyk. His enthusiasm is contagious, and, since we watch every game, we understand their inside jokes, and laugh along with them. Pat Foley’s laugh makes me laugh, and, if you know me, that’s one of my favorite extra-curricular activities.

Pat’s energy never wanes. After the Blackhawks win a game, he says, “We hope you enjoyed the broadcast, I know you enjoyed the outcome.” And, if the Blackhawks don’t win, Pat says, with the same enthusiasm, “We hope you enjoyed the broadcast, in spite of the outcome.”

Eddie and Pat feel like friends we invite into our family room, and, no, I’m not hallucinating (again.) Because of them, I look forward to watching the Chicago Blackhawks, whether they win, or not, although, to be honest, there have been times when games have made me so nervous I’ve had to go upstairs and watch The Kardashians, just to calm myself down.

During this weekend’s frenzy, fans will have the chance to attend Q&A’s, and autograph sessions with players, coaches, and front office staff personnel. There will also be live and silent auctions featuring memorabilia, and game-used equipment! (Febreze sold separately.**)

Watch the excitement on The Opening Ceremonies will also be carried live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN Radio, and streamed live on Seven panels located in the International Ballroom will be streamed live on and mobile devices via the Official Blackhawks App throughout the weekend. For more information, please visit***

* Green-screen photo taken of Niklas Hjalmarsson cut-out, and the real Richard, not a cut-out, taken at the Blackhawks Flagship Store at tree-tirty-tree N. Michigan Ave, Chicago.

** Sometimes I just crack myself up.

*** Totally plagiarized from (Hey! At least I admitted it!)

25 Reasons I Think The Chicago Blackhawks Are so Cool











1. They wear “Glamour-Don’t” uniforms and make them look great. I’m sure they never ask any of their teammates if their pads make their butts look big.

2. They are the definition of teamwork. At least publicly, no one acts like a star without whom the team would fall apart. And, even when one of the players that’s particularly good and whose presence is missed is out due to an upper or lower body injury, another player steps up and gets the job done. And, if a player from another team hits one of our guys in a particularly unnecessary or malicious way (legal hit, or not), one of our guys will see to it that justice is served.

3. They are the definition of humility. I’ve never heard a player take all the credit for a goal or even an assist. When interviewed they’ll say the only reason they were able to make that goal was because of a great pass from someone else.

4. They’re manly enough to wear helmets and mouth-guards.

If he can't be at the game, Richard gets as close as he can.
If he can’t be at the game, Richard gets as close as he can.

5. They take naps.

7. They talk to the press anytime and anywhere, and are gracious about it.

8. They have wives and kids.

9. The team is a family and their families are part of the Chicago Blackhawks extended family. (Notice the absence of the word “dysfunctional!”) Look, I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but unlike other athletes who live their lives like a reality TV show, the entire Chicago Blackhawks family is classy in public. (There might be exceptions, but that’s not my point.)

10. Moms and Dads are invited on trips with their sons and get to see what goes on behind the scenes.

11. Statistics. I learn something new from Eddie Olcyzk, Pat Foley, or Doc Emrick every time I watch or listen to a game. Someone keeps track of each player’s statistics, but someone also keeps track of how many years a trainer, physical therapist, doctor, equipment manager, and anyone else who has any affiliation with the organization has been with the team; and they are appreciated and their dedication is celebrated.

I LOVE Tommy Hawk!
I LOVE Tommy Hawk!

12. To my knowledge, there are no plastic surgeons in the locker room. These guys get slashed, get stitches, and get back out on the ice to play. As a Jewish Mother, I’m not saying I necessarily agree with this practice, but it does deserve to be mentioned. Each player wants to make a difference and knows he can’t do it sitting on the bench.

13. They give back to the City of Chicago in more ways than I can list here.

14. They know how to have fun. Check out BMO Harris Bank’s #TeamAlwaysWithYou commercials starring the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks on YouTube. (

More fun: The team voted Patrick Sharp as the Biggest Prankster. (

15. They all grow beards during playoff season, some more manly than others, even though some of them are only 19 or 20 years old and still practically going through puberty.

16. They beat each other up on the ice but act in a very dignified and sportsman-like manner when shaking hands with the opposing team after a playoff series, whether they lost or won a few minutes prior. It’s especially nice when two guys who had just practically knocked each other senseless shake hands, slap each other on the back, and say, “Good games, eh?”

17. When one of the team members has a family crisis, the entire team offers support, as if whatever happened affected each of them personally.

18. Which brings me to their Alumni Association: (


In 1987, a group of retired Blackhawk players got together to discuss their future in the Chicago community. Their main objective was to “give something back” to Chicago and to the sport of hockey. In that meeting they developed a three-fold mission statement for the non-profit Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association.

• To provide a scholarship fund for the “most deserving” high school hockey players in Illinois.

• To become involved in community affairs and charitable causes.

• To protect and take care of their fellow alumni: “Players helping Players.”

19. The Chicago Blackhawks love their fans, and show it by raising their sticks in salute to them after every home game. Check out The Fan Zone (

20. They honor our county’s veterans at every home game.

21. Two words: Tommy Hawk. ‘Nough said.

601608_10202519535654251_1036971725_n22.  Two more words: Jim Cornelison. Nobody sings our National Anthem better and no   stadium shows its appreciation more than Chicago Blackhawks fans. The United Center is called The Madhouse on Madison for a reason.

23. I don’t think any of the team members are from Chicago, yet they are great ambassadors of The City.

24. In short, they make Chicagoland proud.

25. And the best reason of all: I’m going to the playoff game tonight!!!