By Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)
We’re in the month of September and it’s time for the Men in Red to return to work.
Before they kick off their preseason schedule, the Chicago Blackhawks players gave their fans a taste of what to expect for the upcoming season with their annual Training Camp Festival at the United Center Sunday afternoon. In attending this festival for the very first time, I was amazed at how many fans still have strong interest in the club despite them missing the playoffs the previous two seasons.
Lines were long entering the United Center and the folks in them filled with anticipation of watching their favorite stars, such as Patrick Kane, Captain Jonathan Toews and returning fan favorite Andrew Shaw. Another draw for the fans was the first 10,000 lucky arrivals receiving a Patrick Kane Bobblehead commemorating the 2010 Stanley Cup and I mad sure I was among them. Before the event, there was also a meet and greet with current players and legends from the past on Madison Street.
The festival included all the normal functions of a regular Hawks game (pregame video and national anthem) and centered around a two-and-a-half hour scrimmage between Hawks players split into Team Red and Team White featuring veterans, newcomers and draft hopefuls. The atmosphere was filled with the passion of long time fans but there was also a great family aspect to the event with plenty families and small children filling the stands.
At only $5 to enter, this event is certainly worth it for fans of all experience levels to experience watching their favorite players prepare for the season. Hopefully even more can come out next year and force the Hawks to put on a series of scrimmages. This year’s scrimmage ended with a three-minute overtime period and a shootout round following the normal standard three periods.
Closing out the event, the Hawks players stood at center ice and raised their sticks up as one to thank their fans. The event was certainly worth the while for yours truly and it has me even more revved up to see the regular season start in October.
Bonus: Highlights of Preseason Opener
Adam Boqvist, Alexander Nylander and Aleksi Saarela each scored for the Hawks in this 4-3 loss, which saw few stars from either team compete but was still plenty competitive and was decided in overtime by the Caps’ Tom Wilson.
The Hawks return to preseason action tonight at rival Detroit and turn back around to host the Red Wings on Wednesday.
Sidney Brown covers the Chicago Blackhawks for WARR