The NHL writer’s here at FanSided have decided to do a special Father’s Day sort of collaboration. This is mine. Also, our main site Too Many Men On The Site will have some brief comments from a few writer’s as well. So please check that out.
One particular cold and snowy night in Chicago that I’m about to describe is why I love this game so much.
It was sometime in the late 60′s (you can try and do the math) and I must have been about 6 or 7, when my Dad told me that we would be going to the Blackhawks game. Just me and him going to see a game at the old Chicago Stadium. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to see Bobby Hull. The Golden Jet. Live! I didn’t care where we were sitting, I didn’t care who was playing, all I could think about was seeing Bobby live and in person!
Now the first part of all this is that it was winter time in Chicago. The night of the game it was snowing like crazy. Not quite blizzard like, but bad enough to force my mom to suggest that maybe we shouldn’t go. My Dad wanted no part of that, and stuck to his plan (he was the stubborn one), and off we went. Arriving at the stadium at bit cold, but exited nonetheless, we parked ourselves in our seats on the main level.
It was amazing! The game was so fast, the crowd was so loud, and the building was packed to the rafters! I’m not sure who they were playing, mostly cause it was a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure it was the New York Rangers. Don’t ask why. I do remember this though. As I watched the game, my Dad told me to make sure that I try to watch two players on the Hawks. Number 9 Bobby Hull, obviously, and number 21, Stan Mikita. Two of the most famous Blackhawks that would ever play the game.
I can’t remember too much else, other than the score. 6-5 Hawks. Bobby Hull scored, that I remember cause as I became older, my Dad would always remind me of the first game we went to that the Hawks won, and that Bobby scored. Bobby Hull instantly became my favorite player, and why not. He was talented, had the hardest shot in the league, had that great smile and pulled you out of your seat everytime he touched the puck and made one of his patented rushes up ice.
That was it. I was hooked. From that point on I was either listening to the home games on my little transistor radio (ok, now I’m really showing my age), or watching the road games on TV. See back then the home games weren’t televised because the owner of the Hawks, Arthur Wirtz felt that it would keep people away from the stadium. What a mistake that was.
As I became older we’d go to more games. With my brother as well, and even a few times my Mom would go too, as we made our way up those 99 stairs to the second balcony.
The last time my dad and I went to a game was in the late 80′s. It was an exhibition game that the Hawks were playing. I don’t remember who, but I did return the favor. There was this young kid, wearing number 55 at the time. I told my Dad, watch him, he’s the number one pick from this year’s draft and I think he’s gonna be a good one. Not trying to say I was right, but Jeremy Roenick eventually replaced Bobby Hull as my favorite player. And turned out to have a pretty good career.
My Dad unfortunately isn’t with us any longer and isn’t here to celebrate with us the recent Stanley Cup victory by the Hawks. I’m grateful for the time I had with him and for that very first game I went to. I’m sure my daughter feels pretty much the same way now, that I did then!
Happy Father’s Day to all the Father’s!
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