In cities across the United States, sport is a part of modern culture.
In cities across the United States, sport is a part of modern culture. Bonds and rivalries are made as stories about top players in top teams become the core of everyday conversation, from the love of American football in Texas to the banter between teams in northern and southern California, to the praise and criticism of American basketball player LeBron James, you can’t escape it. Sport is everywhere with loyalties spreading far and wide.
Chicago is one of those cities, and their hockey team, the Chicago Blackhawks, are part of that conversation and the hope to stand tall amongst the National Hockey League’s 29 other teams across two countries.
A bittersweet victory
Yet, the Blackhawks’ recent victory over the Boston Bruins and the win of the Stanley Cup, the trophy named after the Canadian governor general Lord Stanley, was bittersweet. A wide labour dispute triggered before the season start in September 2012 within the NHL led to a lockout of its teams in the US and Canada.
Hockey fans were kept waiting, day in and day out, as negotiations between League Commissioner Gary Bettman and the Players Association broke down, leaving fans to realise perhaps there may be no season. They grew tired of the lockout and of Bettman, who had overseen the third lockout of his tenure as Commissioner.
However, despite the number of games being cut almost in half, there would be a season, and the fans would turn on radio and television and flock to arenas near and far, especially to the United Centre, nicknamed locally as the Madhouse on Madison, where fans would scream of support for the Hawks until their lungs would give out. Hockey was finally back.
One of those fans
I was one of those fans. I, alongside with Anthony Lyen, cover the NHL for The Flyer, the student newspaper of Lewis University in suburban Chicago, and if the Hawks were at the UC when we were in the office putting a paper together for the following week, the game was on TV, as myself, Lyen and my colleagues watched with looks of excitement, wonder and intrigue at how Coach Joel Quenneville, captain Jonathan Toews, goalie Corey Crawford and the stellar team would pull off a win against the opposing team.
Hockey is one of the things that brings us together as a team, and writing those pieces and watching the games is always a personal highlight, though I will admit, I’ve never personally been to an NHL game. I hope to set that right in due course.
A new full season
On the 1st of October, a full season will begin, with more games and more ways to watch the Hawks and other teams as the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup begins once again. The good ole hockey game, as sung about by the late Canadian singer Stompin’ Tom Connors, is something fans would not miss for the world, seeing their favourite sport and their favourite athletes in action for seven months of the year.
Ladies and gentlemen, gather around. It’s hockey night—one of the best nights around.