Monday, September 21, 2009

Blackhawks Training Camp Full Of Firsts

Saturday, we spent the day at The United Center, at the 2nd annual Blackhawks Training Camp Festival.   We arrived just in time for the 10:30AM practice, involving all the players in the line up for Saturday night's game.   As ardent fans and frequent ticket buyers in the nosebleed section, it was a first for us to sit in the first row, behind the goal!  

The kids got an up close and personal look at all their favorite Hawks,

and loved ducking and laughing as numerous pucks hit the glass with a resounding thunk.

Sagezilla even got a great view of her crush, Patrick Kane.  Sorry, Patrick, she won't be 18 for 12 years, but she runs in the room to watch whenever you're interviewed, and turns 3 shades of red and gets snarky when we tease her about you.

It's such a different experience being right behind Huet, close enough to see the ice crystals on the players' blades.  

 What a treat for $5.00 and free parking in the front lot!  Here's the Snapfish link, for more pixs. 

We also met a fun family, with the coolest Hawks shirts ever.   They feature a hawk (as in, the bird, not the Indian) made from the 4 feathers in the Blackhawks logo.   And they ROCKED.  The Dad was a huge fan with 2 Hawks tats on his arm--one of them was the traditional Blackhawks head, and the other was the hawk/feathers design from the tees they were all wearing.   I wish I would have gotten more details about where to get one.   All he said was "a little hole in the wall place on LaGrange Rd.".   But I have Googled everything I could think of and they're off the radar!   If anyone knows where we can order these shirts PLEASE post to the comments section!

We stayed through the first practice and half way through the second one, for all the players not tapped to play that night.   At that point, the kids were freezing (Hey--it's an ice rink, people.  That's why Mama put out your Blackhawks hoodies and outerwear, you refused to bring!)  

so we went outside, to the much warmer parking lot.

The kids won Hawks towels in the shootout game,

and thoroughly enjoyed the moon bouncer, which didn't have a line (That's such a rare occurance at city fests!).   They returned twice and stayed in as long as they wanted.

They picked up hocky sticks for two more aiming games.  

The second one clocked the speed of their shots, and they had a good time trying to beat each other's fastest score.

Fun fun.  Both kids got free characatures of themselves as Blackhawks players & balloons.   And we splurged on adorable Blackhawks skate hairbands for Sagezilla.   The Queen obsessed kids even got to hear Fat Bottom Girls, as the live band, in Hawks jerseys, was playing all 70's covers.

We had wristbands for a 1:15 player autograph, which turned into an hour wait in line to see Kyle Beach.   The kids colored papers at Tommy Hawk's kids fan zone and played games to pass the time.   But after close to an hour, Zilla was more than over it, and the kids had a huge, tearful fight resulting in a time out.  We came very close to leaving.


Fortunately, the line FINALLY moved at that point, and we stuck it out.   Of course, we were kinda hoping for one of the superstars, like Toews, who did give autographs in some of the lines.  Oh well, luck of the draw....  

  Kyle was friendly and really tried to get Sage to smile, to no avail.

Du got a kick out of the fact, Kyle's only 11 years older than him.   And who knows, maybe he'll be a superstar in the near future?

Good thing we stuck it out, because management broke out a bunch of swag as an apology for keeping us waiting so long.   We came home with really nice Training Camp Shirts, Hawks Backpacks, Pins, and
our signed jerseys.


Zilla was still in a funk, but she got over it eventually, as we checked out the Bluesmobile and Blackhawks race cars, and played more games of skill in the lot.   By the final round in the moon bouncer, she was grinning ear to ear.

All in all, we had a great time.   Thank you Blackhawks!

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