Alexi Giannoulias

May 27, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive

After a swift rise to the top of Illinois politics, State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias has found himself mired in a handful of scandals involving his family’s bank and financial ties to convicted felons.

Asian Carp

May 27, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive

They’ve become notorious for lurking in the Illinois River and for threatening to take over Lake Michigan, but what’s so fishy about Asian carp?


May 27, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive

From Wicker Park to the Loop, street artists are tagging Chicago faster than the city’s graffiti-fighting crews can blast the acid-laced spray paint away. Is graffiti getting out of control?

Chicago Public Schools closings

May 27, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive

As of 2009, 12 Chicago Public Schools were designated turnaround schools. Some are trying to fill multiple positions, while others have been forced to close because of low enrollment or consistently low levels of academic performance. Since 2001, CPS has closed 44 schools.

Blackhawks 101 cheat sheet

May 20, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive, Chicago Blackhawks, Sports & Entertainment

Because of Chicago’s recent success, we’re sure you’re a Blackhawks fan now. So, in order to not sound dumb at the next bar you attend to watch the game, here are the basics about the Blackhawks and an explanation of a couple of the more confusing rules of hockey. We’ve also got a quiz so you can show off your hockey knowledge.

Still can’t keep all the stats and players straight? Click the cheat sheet on the left to view and print on your way to the game.

Take the quiz!


So what does icing and off-side mean?

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Blackhawks fans chime in about the state of team

May 20, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive, Chicago Blackhawks, Sports & Entertainment

Blackhawks fans and staff at a local bar shared their thoughts on the factors surrounding the team’s recent success and fairweather fans.

Blackhawks + Stanley Cup = business for bars from Kathryn Smith on Vimeo.

Marketing the Blackhawks from Kathryn Smith on Vimeo.

Fairweather fans from Kathryn Smith on Vimeo.

A televised team from Kathryn Smith on Vimeo.

Key dates in Blackhawks history

May 20, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive, Chicago Blackhawks, Sports & Entertainment

The Chicago Blackhawks were one of six teams in the National Hockey League’s original expansion into the United States in 1926. The Hawks have won three Stanley Cups, the last one in 1961. When past owner Bill Wirtz, known for being stubborn and cheap, died in 2007, his son Rocky took over and immediately began rebuilding relations with fans. Hawks’ fans today are glad the ownership change has positively impacted the team’s performance.

Chicago Blackhawks on Dipity.

Blackhawks turn franchise around after change in ownership

May 20, 2010 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Archive, Chicago Blackhawks, Sports & Entertainment

In 2006 ESPN dubbed the Chicago Blackhawks one of the worst franchise in professional sports.

Since this issue ran:

On June 9, 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, winning its first Stanley Cup since 1961.

-June 9, 2010

Now just four short years later the Hawks have made it to the Conference Finals for the second year in a row. The team has the highest attendance rate of all the NHL teams. And it seems as though everyone in Chicago is a Blackhawks fan.

So what happened?

Sports columnists and fans attribute the success to primarily the shift in ownership. In 2007 longtime owner Bill Wirtz died and his son, Rocky, took the helm, and he wasn’t afraid to make sweeping changes.

In an article in the Daily Herald, Tim Sassone wrote: “According to a Hawks source, Rocky Wirtz has pledged to spend whatever it takes to put a winning team on the ice, news that likely will be viewed by Hawks fans as a critical shift in club philosophy.”

W. "Rocky" Wirtz took over ownership of the Blackhawks in 2007 after his father, Bill, passed away. Photo credit: Chicago Blackhawks

Just what were the critical shifts after Rocky Wirtz was appointed chairman of the club in 2007?

The TV ban on home games was lifted. Bill Wirtz felt that airing the games was unfair to season ticket holders.

James O’Brien, a writer for NBC Sports’ ProHockeyTalk wrote, “Let that sink in for a second: Blackhawks fans weren’t able to watch home games on TV until 2007 because Bill Wirtz thought it would hurt their gate revenue. Such archaic thought makes me wonder how Chicago made it to road games on time while traveling by horse and buggy.”

John McDonougha former team president for the Cubs, was chosen as team president.

Rocky was willing to spend money on key players. Will Guzzardi, a blogger for the Huffington Post wrote: “Talent left the Chicago ice for richer pastures; now, stars like Toews and Kane are being paid the money they deserve, and they’re staying.”

McDonough, who was once quoted saying the Blackhawks have an obligation to market themselves year round–not just during hockey season–began partnering his new team with both the Cubs and the White Sox. On New Years Day 2009, the Blackhawks took on the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field for the Winter Classic. The game drew a crowd of over 40,000–the sixth largest crowd ever at a hockey game.

The above mentioned successes helped the Blackhawks achieve a No. 7 ranking from Forbes for NHL team valuations. And like many other professional sports franchises, the Blackhawks hold an annual convention during the offseason. McDonough was quoted in an MSNBC article saying, “It impacts merchandise and ticket sales. We improved from 3,500 season-ticket holders (in 2007-2008) to 14,000 this year. The fan convention was right in the epicenter of that.”

Now it would seem that everyone with a Chicagoland zip code wants to call themselves Hawks fans.


Trivia You Can Use to Impress Your Friends:

The Blackhawks were called the “Black Hawks” until 1986 after someone discovered the original team papers that showed there was no space between the two words.

The Blackhawks are one of six original NHL teams.

The official Blackhawks mascot is named Tommy Hawk.

The team won its last Stanley Cup in 1961, and it was lead by two Blackhawk legends, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.