Chicago Blackhawks: NHL attendance
September, 5, 2013
By Scott Powers
Robin Alam/Icon SMIIs there a spot for an enforcer such as Brandon Bollig on the Hawks roster this season?A Stanley Cup repeat attempt with nearly everyone back, the Olympics, Bryan Bickell's emergence, the continued evolution of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Nikolai Khabibulin's return, trying to replace Michael Frolik, Andrew Shaw's continued growth as an agitator -- the storylines should be aplenty for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013-2014 season.
ESPNChicago.com's Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers will count down this season's top 50 storylines over the next week leading into training camp.
Here's the first installment:
50. Bollig, the enforcer
The Blackhawks will likely be auditioning for five roster spots during training camp. One of those positions will likely go to Brandon Bollig. Some may argue enforcers aren't really needed on a team, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has often liked to have someone who isn't afraid to drop his gloves and step up for his teammates. With Jamal Mayers and Daniel Carcillo gone, there aren't many of those type of players remaining on the roster. Bollig led the Blackhawks with five fights last season. He will be looking for his first career point this season. He has zero points in 43 career NHL games.
49. Sellout and attendance streak
The Blackhawks are aiming to lead the NHL in attendance for the sixth consecutive season. They have sold out the United Center for 187 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the 2008-09 season. They averaged a paid attendance of 21,775 during their 24 home games last season.
January, 25, 2013
By Scott Powers
Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe Blackhawks had a packed house for their game against the St. Louis Blues.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in an unique position of time in terms of appreciating their fan base.
On the one hand, the Blackhawks are getting accustomed to being one of the hottest tickets in town. They’ve led the NHL in home attendance for the past four seasons and have averaged 21,000-plus fans at the United Center throughout that period.
On the other hand, the Blackhawks aren’t that far removed from being among the league’s worst-attended teams. The Blackhawks averaged less than 14,000 fans in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons and were second to last in home attendance in each of those seasons. Even in the 2007-08 season, they were in the bottom half in attendance.
Now that the 2013 season is underway, it’s apparent most Blackhawks fans have rushed back to their team and have put aside any resentment created by the NHL lockout. It’s a welcome sight for the Blackhawks, but it’s also one they stress isn’t being overlooked.
“We’ll never, ever take our fans for granted,” Blackhawks executive vice president Jay Blunk said in a phone interview on Friday. “We’re fortunate our fans are back and back en masse.
“We’ve led the league in (attendance) over the last four years. That wasn’t always the case here. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows the fans are precious and central to our organization. We have to proceed in a humbled manner with our fans, and we always will.”