Game 6! Tonight! Da, duh-da-da, duh-da-da, duh-da-da da-da-da!

One more, guys!

Alright sports fans… our dear Black Hawks have a chance to wrap their first Stanley Cup in 49 years, and in the words of Definite Hawks Fan, that is god damn beautiful. We’ve got two questions and one talking point on the table, with answers rolling in as long as they come. Feel free to expand upon these questions as you see fit. Contribute responses to jack@readjack.com and join the soon-to-be celebration!*

1. What has been the most exciting aspect of watching this Hawks team evolve into a Stanley Cup contender over the past three seasons?

2. If the Hawks close out and win the Cup, how do you plan to celebrate?

3. Anything else you would like to say about this Total Experience, positive or negative?

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Cristine Kao — Canadian hockey fan, Hawks fan since 2007

One more win to go!

My $0.02:

1. Most exciting, or perhaps most critical, was the signing of Kane, Keith, and Toews last year. This really solidified their top line and defined their core. Though you couldn’t tell from this last series against the Flyers, but Kane and Toews on the ice is by far the best combo offensively. Of course getting Hossa this year was pretty sweet too.

2. Wow, I can’t even imagine how I would celebrate. Perhaps just the traditional round of shots with my friends ;)

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Christopher Cason — lifelong Chicago fan, new Hawks follower

1) Probably the greatest part for me is the excitement within the city about this team. When you have a franchise like the Blackhawks that have had their struggles, people tend to overlook them, especially when you’ve had the Bulls dominating the 90′s, the loyal Cub fans, White Sox World Series winner in 05, as well as the Bears getting to the Super Bowl in 07. The Hawks got kind of pushed to the back and it allowed them to quietly get back to being a damned good team that has forced everyone in the city to take notice. It’s just a good feeling, especially if you’re a TRUE Blackhawks fan and you’ve been there throughout the storm to now be a part of them potentially winning the Cup.

I’m not a follower at all, but I’ve had to tune in and watch a few games throughout this playoffs and see people who have no idea about anything regarding hockey cheer this team on. So, to finally answer the question, the surprise has been the most exciting part for me.

2) You just have to soak it in and appreciate it. One thing you learn — when you’re a fan of a franchise that has won and then goes through its struggles — is how hard it is to win it all. It takes sacrifice, building, players buying into a system and believing in one another. It’s great to see that all come together for that one goal and the feeling of being the last team standing is great, but even greater is being the fan, supporter, bandwagoner of that last team standing.

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Rick Telander — lifelong Chicago fan

1. Seeing a great city rewarded with what it has long deserved–a superior hockey team. Not just superior, the best. Which Chicago is, especially in June.

2. If the Hawks win I will celebrate the way I did for the first Bulls NBA crown and the 85 Bears–I will get drunk and tip over a police car.

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Jack Silverstein — lifelong Chicago fan

1. I always enjoy being in Chicago as the excitement builds, particularly Surprise Excitement, like we’ve had with the Hawks these last three years. Watching the city’s enthusiasm rebuild, starting with the additions of Toews and Kane and then really at the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day ’09, and on through the playoff run last year and now this run this year… that’s what I enjoy. Walking around the city and seeing the increase in Hawks gear — jerseys, banners, hats, t-shirts — and of course talking to die hard Hawks fans, especially those who were around in ’61. But really, any big Hawks fan, seeing him or her enjoy this. That’s what I like best.

2. Going along with that, my celebration will consist of watching others celebrate, similar to how I was when the Sox won the Series.

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Jake Bressler — world class cynic and NBA fan

1) Nothing

2) I will open my laptop and confirm the amount of days until the official NBA free agency period begins.

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Josh Frost — lifelong Chicago fan and true blue Hope Dies Laster

It gives me hope that new ownership can actually make change happen in an organization in frankly a pretty short amount of time. You can guess which other drought-stricken Chicago team this makes me think of…

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Sam Vangelovski — Chicagoan and sports realist

I am answering your questions in reverse order since I feel pretty passionate about the first question.

2- I don’t plan to do any celebration, although I do plan to watch the game and have watched every game during the playoffs. With that said, anyone that get’s too emotionally involved in professional sports needs to get a hobby or set their own life goals. It would be nice to see a Chicago championship (that applies to any Chicago sports team (Cubs and Sox included), but I would not cry over a loss (or a win).

As someone who has no intrinsic (let’s say emotional ) nor extrinsic (let’ s say money) investment in professional sports, I can only enjoy the momentary pride in my city as someone on the outside looking in at the players who achieved “their” goal and have excelled as professionals in “their” career. What have I really done to help the Hawks? I can’t stand people that refer to sports teams as “we” need to win tongiht. NO, you are NOT part of the team, the Blackhawks need to win and it would be an amazing achievement for the Blackhawks. Anyway…I think you should write an article on this topic…emotionally invested fans that feel that they are part of sports franchises and think that they have role in their teams success and/or failures. If you are going to celebrate, do it responsibly and please don’t spill your drink on me.

1- I recently had a client in from Boston and we had this exact conversation. I was arguing that Boston fans have a ridiculous chip on the their shoulder which comes directly from their city’s sports successes in recent years. It actually gets quite obnoxious debating sports with a Boston fan, especially since many have an insane level of pride in their city and feel somehow inexplicably “connected” to the teams and players. I gave my client credit for the success of the Patriots and Red Sox…and while I respect the Celtics 2008 championship and this years current run to the Finals, I had to discredit his personal pride in the Celtics success…

…which leads me to why a Blackhawks win would be the most emotionally legitimate of any Chicago team. First and foremost is that nearly all of the key players on the team were drafted, home grown talent that came on as the team was bottoming out or on the rise. I don’t have all their bios, but Kane, Versteeg, Toews are all recent draftees, and Byfuglien, Keith, Bolland, and Seabrook are all Chicago guys from the bad years, and Niemi is a Chicago rookie and an amazing story of his own. Even Patrick Sharp cut his teeth as a Blackhawk (despite starting his career elsewhere). The only stud player with no roots is Hossa, but his impact as a “Chicago” is limited as he really isn’t the face of this team like Big Buff, Toews, Sharp, and Kane. Over the last few years they’ve brought back Pat Foley and mended the the relationship with estranged former superstars. Ever since the old man Billford Wirtz kicked the can, they signed on with a uniquely Chicago radio station in WGN and have left the too-cool-white-collar image for more of a family friendly atmosphere. Simply put, the Blackhawks are BACK!

So I would love to feel that momentary pride in this city. The last time we had this type of excitement was with the mid 90s Bulls. To touch on the Bulls, the current Bulls roster has D-Rose and several nice draftees…but who knows if Deng, Captain Kirk, Noah, a couple decent rookies and TON of journeymen will ever achieve success. Say Lebron and/or Bosh come to Chicago, will this fill Chicago’s appetitte for championship basketball? And if they do, will it feel uniquely Chicago or will it taste like a Ballpark hotdog? Chances are that even if the Bulls keep Rose, trade for Lebron and Bosh, and maintain a decent bench…no matter how much the team succeeds, it will taste fake and processsed.

Speaking of fake and processed meat, this brings me back full circle to the Celtics. Does a championship taste as good when you recruit the top players in a league to play together for a one or two year run? That’s exactly what the Celtics are…they are a rock supergroup and we know those never work out long term. There is nothing unique about the Celtics, there is no local emotional connection to the fans. Sure they have a Paul Pierce and now Rajon Rondo, but most of their home grown talent rides the bench or has been already traded away. Two thirds of the face of the Celts is about to retire 3 years into their tenure. The Celtics are not a dynasty, they wont ever create their own footprint in their city. Even the other Chicago sports teams can’t be considered uniquely Chicago…Kenny Williams treats the Sox like a fantasy baseball team, the Cubs have some nice players, but other than Zambrano there really isn’t any personality on that team and the top players and Big Lou were all solid baseball players prior to coming here (Lee, Ramiras, Soriano, Fukudome), and the Bears are a pot luck mix of good, bad, and ugly and it comes from both locally grown talent here and big bang (potential busts) outsiders like Cutler and Peppers. The most “Chicago” guys on the Bears have been some of the most hated by their own city! See Urlacher and Rex Grossman.

What I’m saying is that those already following the team, I know the uniquely “Chicago” Blackhawks would be thankful for your support, and for those that are not interedted in hockey for whatever reason, I say the bandwagon has plenty of room and it’s not to late to step aboard. If you’re going to root for a Chicago team, you might as well root for the one that has real Chicago roots.

Sam

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Max Schulman, fired up Hawks fan

1) What’s been most exciting is how quickly our young players have been able to mature and adapt to the big stage. Even more importantly, to keep our poise throughout a really long season. And aside from the whole free agency mishap w/ contracts last year, managements done an a+ job.

2) If the Hawks win, my main celebration goal will be to unleash havoc! When I was at Cuse and we beat Kansas for the NCAA title (zing to your lil bro!) cops greased trees so we wouldn’t climb them, so we just lit’em on fire… think that’s what I’ll do again.

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Tony the Packers Fan

I will shave my beard.

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*ED. NOTE: Since Mr. Silverstein is a Chicago sports fan but not specifically a Hawks fan, he is unable to jinx the Stanley Cup Finals.

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~ by readjack on June 9, 2010.

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