font-family: 'Arizonia', cursive; Michael Stichauf - "As I understand it now...'til it changes": "Your CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Your CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS!

The Chicago Sun-Times had a timely article today about the current Chicago Blackhawks, which spurred me to write my take on the regime, Here's the link to the article; http://www.suntimes.com/sports/27567008-419/blackhawks-fans-living-through-golden-age-of-chicago-hockey.html#.U3zk9vldXeA

All Chicago hockey fans owe The current Blackhawk "brain-trust" a HUGE round of applause. When "Dollar Bill" Wirtz died (previous Wirtz owner of the Hawks) died, his sons split the Wirtz empire between them, one son took the lucrative liquor business and the other, Rocky, took the spiraling, downhill hockey team, the Blackhawks. At the time, no one realized just how fortunate Hawk fans would be in the coming years. 

One of the first things that Rocky did was hire John McDonough away from the Chicago Cubs to be the Blackhawks President. Brilliant move. Since this hire, the Hawks have been on the move. Initially, there were some people who wondered whether he was the correct choice when they fired Denis Savard, the then, head coach. Well, Joel Quenneville was Savard's replacement- 'nuff said. As it stands now, Quenneville is soon to be the second winningest coach in N.H.L. history!

Another brilliant move that Rocky and McDonough made was to bring back the ex-Blackhawk players who were shunned by Rocky's Dad. Actually, they were turned off by "Dollar Bill's" cheap contracts and lack of interest in making the Hawks a winning team. Players such as Bobby Hull were asked to come back to the team in one form or fashion as a sign of good will and, probably, a way to bring some revenue into the team's coffers. Hull and Stan Mikita were constant T.V. presences as the Hawks made their first run at the Stanley Cup in 2010.

1971 Hawks- B. Hull-9, Chico Maki-16
Bill White-2, Lou Angotti-6
I, for one, have been a Hawk fan from as far back as I can remember. In 1971, I can remember watching the highlights of each of the Stanley Cup games on T.V. For Chicagoans of my generation, the obvious names of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito are the guys everyone remembers. But at the time, if you were really a Hawk fan, you also remembered names such as; Chico Maki, "Whitey" Stapleton, Jim Pappin, Keith Magnuson (who supplemented his income in the off-season by showing up at Little League Baseball trophy nights in Chicago), Pit Martin and Bill White. Let us not forget, though, the men who made those games come to life for us kids and adults alike. Lloyd Pettit, Jim West and Lou Angotti were such greats of the Hockey game, also.

For most of us, that was the "Golden Age" of Chicago Hockey. Until now, as Mark Lazerus so eloquently put it today in the Sun-Times. The current Blackhawk "brain-trust" has put together a team that, considering the league as it is today, better all around than any we've ever seen on the ice in Chicago Blackhawk sweaters. The kids who watch now-a-days will, of course, remember the names of Jonothan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith. Yet, they will also remember those other players who probably won't be household names outside of Chicago. Guys like; Sharp, Crawford, Hjalmarsson, Shaw and Saad will also live on in their memories because this is The Golden Age of Hockey in Chicago (again, maybe?) Thank you to the whole Chicago Blackhawk franchise.