John F. McDonough joined the Blackhawks in 2007 as President and was named President and Chief Executive Officer on June 1, 2011. Under his guidance, in what Forbes Magazine has called the "The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever," the Blackhawks have revitalized the team's profile and re-energized its fan base. Since McDonough joined the Blackhawks, the team has won Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015, becoming the first organization in the NHL's salary cap era to capture three championships.
With McDonough's leadership, the Blackhawks' success has been recognized by SportsBusiness Journal, earning coveted nominations for the publication's Professional Sports Team of the Year in 2009 and 2014. The organization was also voted to have the "Best Business Savvy" by The Hockey News' 2012 "Best of Everything in Hockey" issue, in addition to being named "Best Franchise" in their 2014 "Franchise Ranking" issue. McDonough created the team's "One Goal" slogan, a mantra that has become instrumental to the Blackhawks marketing, branding and organizational culture.
The Blackhawks have entertained 497 consecutive capacity crowds at the United Center and have grown a season ticketholder base from 3,400 to more than 14,000. Additionally, the Blackhawks have led the NHL in attendance for 11 consecutive seasons and consistently achieve monumental viewership numbers on local and national broadcasts. During the team's run to the 2015 Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks registered three of their top five most-watched games, including the highest on record, a 41.0 HH average rating during Game 6 of the Final on June 15, 2015.
McDonough has been instrumental in bringing marquee events to Chicago, including the 2009 NHL Winter Classic between the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field, the 2014 Stadium Series game between the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field, the NCAA Frozen Four in April 2017, the NHL Draft in June 2017 and the annual Blackhawks Convention, the first of its kind in the National Hockey League. In addition, the Blackhawks made their league-leading fourth appearance in the Winter Classic under McDonough's leadership, when they hosted the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium on Jan 1.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks, McDonough served as President of the Chicago Cubs. During his tenure, the Cubs won the 2007 National League Central Division while setting an all-time franchise attendance record. As the Cubs' chief, and in his previous role as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting, he played a major role in increasing the Cubs' fan base and attracting sponsorships, helping one of the most successful professional sports franchises in America consistently reach record attendance and revenue figures. In addition, McDonough was the architect of the seventh-inning stretch celebrity "guest conductor" concept at Wrigley Field and created the annual Cubs Convention, which is now viewed as a prototype for team and league fan festivals.
McDonough's many achievements have earned him honors and awards, including Major League Baseball's Marketing Excellence Award, Chicago Baseball Executive of the Year and a place in "America's Top Ten Marketing Executives" by Promo Magazine. In addition, McDonough was named to The Hockey News' "100 People of Power and Influence," was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the first-ever honorary Certified Hockey Professional designation by the Business of Hockey Institute in 2016.
He has also been recognized with the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Presidential Medal for Outstanding Merit, the Bill Veeck Lifetime Achievement Award, a place in the Notre Dame College Prep Hall of Fame and the 2008 Executive of the Year Award by the Chicago chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. In November 2017, McDonough received the 2017 Leadership Award from The Ireland Funds. And in September 2018, he was awarded the first ever John F. McDonough Humanitarian Award by St. Juliana Parish in Edison Park, Ill. He has also served as the Alzheimer's Association Reason to Hope Co-Chairman.
He serves as a frequent guest speaker and panelist across the country, including at the 2010 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the 2014 SXSW Conference and Harvard Business School. McDonough has also served as commencement speaker for the Loyola University School of Communication and Grand Marshal for Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2014. In June 2019, he served as the commencement speaker for DePaul University's College of Communication & College of Education Commencement Ceremony.
McDonough is a frequent lecturer at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business and Northwestern University. He serves as a Sustaining Board Member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Illinois Board, and also sits on the Athletic Advisory Board of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, the Special Olympics Illinois Foundation Board, Chicago Blackhawks Foundation Board of Directors, the NHL Club Business Advisory Board and the NHL Board of Governors.
A Chicago native, McDonough is a graduate of Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, Ill., and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He currently resides in the western suburbs and has three children, Colleen (Pete), Ryan (Katie) and Michael; and a granddaughter, Riley, and a grandson, Connor.