This season, the Blackhawks and close to 100 bars throughout Illinois have entered into two innovative and unique partnerships to provide fans with a true Blackhawks experience. Hawks fans will have numerous opportunities to watch their favorite team whether they are at home or on the road.
The Blackhawks developed the program to give select establishments the opportunity to strengthen the relationship with the team by becoming an Official Blackhawks Bar. These bars are provided with DVDs of the Blackhawks' game presentation to play during game nights, customized "Official Blackhawks Bar" decorations, Blackhawks merchandise for bar staff, personalized Blackhawks jersey and placement on chicagoblackhawks.com.
The City Roadwatch is another opportunity for fans experience to a game while the Blackhawks compete on the road. These team-approved road watches feature the complete Blackhawks game night experience, complete with guest emcee Gene Honda, the Blackhawks Ice Crew, goal horns and sirens, team highlight videos, and raffles to win tickets future Blackhawks games.
One recent City Roadwatch was hosted at Mahoney’s Bar & Grille (551 N. Ogden Avenue in Chicago) when the Blackhawks traveled to face the Nashville Predators. During the roadwatch, chicagoblackhawks.com sat down with Mahoney’s Bar Manager and lifelong Blackhawks fan Kevin Koss to discuss the positive impact of Mahoney’s partnership with the Blackhawks.
chicagoblackhawks.com: Why did you join the Official Blackhawks Bar program?
Kevin Koss: Well, the general manager and I have been big Blackhawks fans for a long time now, and I’ve been going to games since I moved back to Chicago four years ago. I ran into (Blackhawks Marketing Events Coordinator) Brian Howe last year and he approached us about the City Roadwatch and we got it set up. We had a great time working with the Blackhawks and when this particular opportunity came this year we thought there was no way that we wouldn’t want to be a part of it. This season is just going to be a great opportunity for both us and the Blackhawks.
What has been the biggest positive for Mahoney’s since you have joined the partnership?
KK: The biggest positive for us is that the Blackhawks are relevant again. It’s not that we only have good crowds at the City Roadwatch parties, but also before and after home games. It’s really helped to get our name out there and get those great Chicago hockey fans to come out now that they know we are partnered with the Blackhawks. That’s what we want to be.
Explain your personal allegiance to the Hawks. You started being a fan when you were really young?
KK: I was born in Chicago so my dad raised me on Cubs, Hawks, Bears and Bulls. There was nothing else. Those were my options, and I just kind of followed through with them. I think my first game was actually not in Chicago, but in Dallas when I was living down there and the Stars had just moved from Minnesota and the Blackhawks were in town. I remember watching Chris Chelios get in a fight and I was hooked.
What are you looking for as a business with the Official Blackhawks Bar partnership?
KK: It’s going to continue to grow and we’ve been talking to the Hawks all the time. We’re hoping to keep things moving in the right direction and I know I’m talking with them now about possibly doing some group tickets for a game in the future. We will continue to support the Hawks and hopefully have the team and the fans keep coming back here.
What kind of reaction have you gotten from your staff since you’ve become an Official Blackhawks Bar?
KK: The staff has definitely bought into it, mostly because they know when there is a Blackhawks game or event going on they’re going to make money (laughs). It’s also fun because we have taken a few of the staff members to the games and everyone really enjoys it. Once they actually go to a game and get to experience the excitement they realize the big picture of the Blackhawks and what the team and the partnership means to the city.