Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The End Or The Beginning

We watched game five of the Stanley Cup Finals from the comfort of a friend's couch. The crowd consisted of 3 adults and 5 youths ranging in ages from 5 to 14. While the game progressed, I asked the kids how much hockey they had watched in previous years.

The Murtons had watched some. The others, not much. I asked them why they were following this edition of the Chicago Blackhawks if they'd never really watched before? "Well, because they are winning," was the collective response.

So, would you watch next year? Regular season? On a Tuesday night?

The response was a "Maybe." They probably wouldn't sit down and watch it instead of a movie or DVD?

"Probably not."

While tonight represents the culmination of what seemed impossible just three years ago, it also has the possibility to be a launching pad the for this franchise. They have a opportunity to actually make an inroad into the sports consciousness of a whole generation of kids. And build a fan base from that that will last a generation.

How Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough follow up on this success will be the key if this run is merely a fun little blip on the screen or the resurgence of a team that was once as popular as any other franchise in this town.

They have a lot of systemic issues to overcome in terms of a sport that most kids don't play (or even know the rules - offsides and icing had to be explained in the 2nd period to one of the kids) and a league that has no clue about national media.

But this is a hell of a way to start.

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