What does a hockey locker room smell like?
So this panel started on a high note when I spotted these lovely people in the crowd:
(Krugs Tre Kronor Jersey)
(Q Whaler Jersey)
This was basically a panel of all the front office bigwigs, including Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Jay Blunk, Al MacIsaac, and Chris Werner. I went originally because I am a giant worrier and I needed to stare at these dudes and mentally be like “TELL ME YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, I PROMISE NOT TO TELL THE INTERNET, BUT I NEED TO KNOW YOU HAVE A PLAN.” While I failed to achieve mind meld with StanBo to learn the masterplan, I *was* there for the single best question of the entire convention.
This is a question that made me, and the rest of the audience, applaud madly, made me so, so proud to be there as part of this fanbase, and made me literally write “CASEY IS GREAT” in my notes.
First though, let me back up a bit to cover some pertinent pieces of information that came up during the moderated portion of the panel:
Jay Blunk (EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT) really emphasized how important the Hawks considered fan feedback on everything that happens during a game including little details like how the bathrooms at the UC are, what could make the experience better because it should be “like a fine hotel” and “everyone who walks in is a customer”. He brought up how important it was to have a dialogue with the fans, especially calling out a volunteer organization called Fan’s Voice. He also mentioned connecting with people who don’t make it to the UC.
Chris Werner (VICE PRESIDENT, TICKET OPERATIONS AND CUSTOMER RELATIONS) also called out the Fan’s Voice, and basically requested feedback, noting that they’re always looking to improve. I literally have “Feedback plz” written in my notes.
Blunk also noted that the Blackhawks have the fastest growing female fanbase among the Chicago sports franchises (here’s an article with some numbers from the beginning of last season).
So to return to the BEST QUESTION, everyone stepped up to the mic, announced who they were, where they were from, and then stated their question. Casey steps up to bat a few questions in, announces herself, and then asks a rocking, kick ass question, that took what they had put out there and really asked them to listen to what they were saying. I’m going to paraphrase because I was applauding/nodding/fangirling too hard to get the exact wording:
You mentioned female fans as a growing segment of your fanbase, and I was wondering what you were doing to increase the diversity of female representation at Blackhawks games? Right now what we’re seeing is very one dimensional, with things like Ice Girls and the organ playing “The Stripper” when it’s a female fan’s turn during Shoot the Puck, but not much else.
The Hockeybrunch Blog provides a pretty good summary of what then happened.
Everyone on the dais took a nervous swig of water, the sort that says “Hoo-boy, we’ve got no good answer to this one,” before providing a solid non-answer, that the concern was appreciated and they would be careful about their practices going forward.
And despite the requests for feedback that Werner and Blunk both made, Kate Conway reports there’s been no follow up on the question.
While I actually learned lots of interesting things at the panel and would have considered it worthwhile even without Casey’s question, I’m so glad that she did bring it up, and that the Hawks front office is learning first hand:
Rathunde told me she asked her Ice Crew question not to attack the Blackhawks, but because she loves the team and wants them to do better by the fans. Roughly two-thirds of the convention’s attendees, by the extremely scientific count from “my eyeballs,” were women, and 38 percent of local fans are women, according to New York-based Scarborough Research. Thus far, we’ve been happy to shell out for Blackhawks tickets and merchandise, but that won’t last forever.
Listen up, Blackhawks. Your female fans are asking you to make changes. Eventually, we’ll get tired of you covering your ears. (x)
Making friends at #BHC2014
as per usual the blowies are SUPER PUMPED TO MAKE A NEW FRIEND!!!!
Glove saves are the best things ever
PK Subban and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens
Source: Yahoo Sports/Graham Hughes
7/16/14 Kane & Toews press conference: [X]
well damn… THIS IS SERIOUS. BUSINESS.
if i am “only watching hockey for the hotties” tell me why i picked the sport where the athletes are 90% covered
Along with scoring a goal and managing two assists in the Islanders Blue and White scrimmage, Josh Ho-Sang dangled in the shootout.
Kesler at the Honda Center for the first time as a Duck.