Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dispatches from Chicago

Hello! I'm honored write from a Chicago perspective! This city is really where my heart is, even though I grew up in Michigan and will always be a Wings fan. However, I think that the Blackhawks deserve to be so much better and have really gotten screwed in their ownership. Chicagoans are hockey fans, but they have been beaten down for so long most people have just given up. But, so that my husband doesn't get upset, I promise that if a true Blackhawks fan wants to write in my place, I'll kick myself to the curb. Or to covering the Wolves, or whatever.

1. Where you're from, what you do - basic things.

I'm originally from northern lower Michigan, but have lived in Indiana, Colorado (that was fun as a Wings fan let me tell you what...), and now Chicago. I've lived here for almost 4 years now and love it. I live on the south side (it's not scary), and my husband is originally from here as well.

Currently I am a stay at home parent to my 6 month old baby girl. She is the cutest baby ever (no, really), and I love being with her. Every now and then it would be nice to be able to go to the bathroom by myself though! I'm really looking forward to getting her started skating, though my husband and I are having a really hard time deciding who gets to shape her NHL allegiances...

2. Your team and why you like them.

I love the Red Wings because I'm from northern Michigan. I can't change that.

I'm writing about the Blackhawks because I live in Chicago and am incredibly angry and frustrated about what Bill Wirtz has done to hockey in this city. Older Chicagoans were staunch hockey fans. Younger Chicagoans wonder what the point is, when the team sucks, the games aren't on TV, and you can just watch the Bulls instead. Someone needs to change this. An Original 6, traditional hockey city does not deserve to be shafted by craptastic ownership.

3. Your least favourite team and why?

Least favorite team: The Avalanche

Why? Claude Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, 1996 playoffs, living in Colorado for 2 years after college, etc.

4. Your favourite player of all time & now?

My favorite player of all time is Stevie Yzerman. I was 3 when he joined the Wings. I'm having a really hard time adjusting to the team without him.

Currently, I'm really loving Marty Havlat. When he's not hurt, the Hawks have a chance every game. When he is, they suck.

5. If you had to punch one hockey player or member of the NHL
organisation, who and why?

Bill Wirtz. I will write a lot about this in the days and weeks to come, I'm sure. You'll all come to hate him as much as I do. Bill, if you see a 5'2" blonde woman walking down the street with a baby strapped to her chest, you might want to turn and go the other direction because I don't know if I can keep myself from kicking you in the shins.

6 What you'll be looking forward in this group blog.

I love that this will give me a chance to write about hockey more. I'm also thrilled to be part of a community where liking hockey is the norm and not weird and freakish like it currently is in Chicago.

7. What you don't like in general?

People who give unasked for and unwanted parenting advice. Oh, was that supposed to be about hockey? I don't like people who whine about how violent hockey is and then go off and watch football.

8. What role do female fans play in keeping the game alive?

I think women bring a lot of optimism to the game. Men get happy when the teams win and angry when they lose. A lot of women I know tend to have a "love them if they're bad or good" attitude. Now, that doesn't mean we support teams with losing strategies, it just means that we're loyal and don't necessarily change the channel* to the basketball game when things aren't going well.

*Well, in cities where they actually broadcast home games on TV. I wouldn't know what that is like here in Chicago.

9. What role do female fans play in picking heroes for the community?

Female fans can help create new generations of sports fans. It's important for my daughter to know what it's like to be a fan of a team (and since she's going to be a Cubs fan, she's going to have to learn to be loyal through adversity!). Seeing both of her parents loving hockey will help her learn the game, and she'll be able to pick her personal heroes as she grows up. I can only hope someone will be as deserving as Yzerman in her childhood.

10. Hockey just isn't the same without...

...being able to watch home games on TV.
...going to a game with more than 6,000 people in the stands.
...people in the city being supportive of the team instead of dismissive ("We have a hockey team?").
Yep, Chicago has some major issues.

11. If you were on a deserted island, which player would you pick to stay with you?

Does it have to be a current player? I certainly would have a hard time picking anyone but Yzerman, but what with the retirement and all....

12. Crosby, Ovechkin or Phaneuf (hey he tried!)?

I like Ovechkin, even though I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the Eastern Conference until the playoffs. I like anyone who brings attention to the NHL from non-hardcore fans.

13. The player you'd like to take for a grand night out/a movie/a boring event?

I'd like to take Khabibulin out sometimes. And I know what you're all thinking, no I wouldn't take him out to the woodshed with a long belt (though it can be tempting...). I would like to confess to him over dinner that I thought his name was so damned cool when I was in high
school that I told a lot of people I'd like to marry him for his name.

14. If you could make your own team, regardless of whatever players, what would it be called and where will it be/how would it be like?

I'd love to get a minor league team for the south side of Chicago. In fact, if I could just take the Chicago Wolves and plop then down in Oak Lawn, that would be pretty kick-ass idea. It's a pain to get up to Rosemont to see them when you live south of the Loop, but they are Chicago's best and most fan-friendly hockey team.


Elly said...

Welcome! Stevie Y was awesome.

Steph said...

In this one single post you have mentioned both Steve Yzerman and hating the Avs for reasons including Claude Lemieux - you have endeared me to you forever.

Welcome! s

Steph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CapsChick said...

Wow, Chicago and DC sound pretty similar...of course, the Hawks have a much richer and more interesting history to be sure. And you guys have Bondra (lucky).

I feel your pain, nonetheless.

(And yet another addition to Ovechkin's Army!!)

Welcome, welcome!

kristin said...

Welcome Leah! And your daughter is cute!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% on one thing in particular - I will admit, as a fellow Chicagoan, that the Hawks suck because of bad management and player dependmenship, and I applaud your recognition of this despite the fact you are also a RedWings fan.

Sorry, but it's true. ;)

Kudos to you, man!

Raskolnikov said...

Bill, if you see a 5'2" blonde woman walking down the street with a baby strapped to her chest, you might want to turn and go the other direction because I don't know if I can keep myself from kicking you in the shins.

Oh where have you been all my life.

Although I despise the Red Wings, I don't hate most of their players. I love Lidstrom, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk. But that winged wheel makes me shudder.