What’s that? You don’t think the Blackhawks still can’t quite believe they were able to snag Teuvo Teravainen at last month’s National Hockey League Entry Draft?
Listen to this. Every year, Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman alerts his public relations staff to prepare at least a dozen or so instant nameplates in anticipation of the team’s eventual selection. That is, Bowman will speculate a few potential draftees so that when the moment arrives, the Blackhawks will be able to Velcro the identity of their prized diaper dandy on the back of that famous red sweater for all of North America to see.
However, drafting in the 18th slot in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, Bowman thought there was no chance of a Teravainen sighting when it came to the Blackhawks’ turn. So the young man’s clothing went blank when he was chosen in the first round; in a sense, he was the prodigy to be named later. This morsel of information was dispensed Saturday at the fifth annual Convention during a morning “Blackhawks Leadership” panel in the Chicago Hilton’s Continental Ballroom.
Chairman Rocky Wirtz was there, as were President and CEO John McDonough and Executive Vice President Jay Blunk. They fielded a variety of volleys from fans, and not for the first time, Bowman expressed delight bordering on deliriousness that Teravainen was available. If you saw the Finnish flash at the recent Prospect Camp, you can understand why.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been around for three decades or so, you can understand why ABC 7’s Mark Giangreco departed the hotel Saturday afternoon with a unique perspective. He moderated a “Chicago’s Most Wanted” gathering featuring Patrick Sharp, Daniel Carcillo, Andrew Shaw and Jamal Mayers—all players who have been embraced by Blackhawks fans and who have returned the favor by establishing some local roots.
“I love hockey,” said Giangreco, “and being in Chicago for 30 years, I can remember when fans weren’t paying much attention to the game and players didn’t want to play here. Now you have guys like Carcillo and Shaw and Mayers who fit the local mold of tough and blue-collar, plus a guy like Sharp who’s a star and spends almost his entire summer here. Been quite the change. I mean, for so long this franchise was stuck in the 1960s. Now, you have more people at this convention that you used to see at some games. And players want to play here. Look at this place. Look at all these people. And it’s the middle of July! I remember when you couldn’t get a buzz for hockey like this in the middle of January around here.”