I watched last night’s Blackhawks game from the comfort of my home, which I will do for probably all but a couple this year. This isn’t a testament to my lacking passion as a fan. It’s more an understanding of the banks I’d need to rob to be in attendance and the low odds they show games in jail.
Since last year alone, ticket prices have risen 16 percent for the Stanley Cup winners. They’ve climbed a metaphorical Everest since before the 2010 Stanley Cup win, when we could get $16 upper level seats—when there was often room to spare, save for Redwings games.
I’ve been hesitant to call people “bandwagoners.” It’s exciting to have a winning team in this fair city. I welcome new supporters of my team, and embrace new lovers of hockey. I was a part of that sea of red that made a shocking 2 million people for the celebratory parade and rally downtown last summer. It is magical.
So, I’ve tried not to be bitter as people in suits and ties filled my arena, calling my Captain “Jonathan ‘Toes’,” and changed the dynamic of the place I love… But, “they’ll learn,” I told myself. “They’ll love them, too.”
I thought, how could anyone not love and respect them?
And then, it happens. THAT GUY and THAT GIRL with their good seats desecrate our name.
To anyone not watching Chicago playing Winnipeg, or who may not have seen every hockey/sporting news source posting the video decrying how classless Blackhawks fans are, here’s the spectacle.
(As an aside, Brandon Bollig made a great hit.)
Owner Rocky Wirtz justified this year’s 16 percent ticket price increase earlier this year with a laughable comment.
“As the tickets are more valuable, our fan behavior is becoming better,” he says. “When the tickets didn’t have the same value or they didn’t look at the team as much, many times it would be an element of people who wanted to come to the United Center just to cause trouble and get in fights. We don’t have that.”
Yeah… About that, Rocky.
I was able to find one on-the-glass ticket available via Ticketmaster for an upcoming Wednesday game: $557.36 before taxes and fees. While THAT GUY may not have paid that much, or could’ve paid more, he certainly wasn’t one of the people in the nosebleeds, though he arguably deserves one. His $10 beer-chucking bimbo probably doesn’t know what a blue line is. She probably went to the game so she could look at Patrick Sharp. (Fine. I can’t blame her for that one. But I can blame her for being an adult and not knowing how to behave properly in public.)
So… everyone that’s yelling “Blackhawks fans *%^%&^!” and “Blackhawks fans, #%^&!” can just take a deep breath.
Just look at THAT GUY and the people in his cluster. Those aren’t real fans. Those aren’t people who show up early for warmups, who have chills for the national anthem, who sit uncomfortably through intermission because they’re afraid they won’t make it back from the restrooms or concession lines in time for puck drop. They aren’t the ones genuinely standing and applauding Michael Frolik’s return to the United Center — or Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien’s for that matter.
THOSE are people with expendable money and expendable weeknights. THAT GUY is probably 20 $10 beers in. He can barely stand up straight. His face is incapable of forming an expression.
I commended Rocky Wirtz for bringing hockey back to Chicago. He televised our home games again, a move I believe ultimately led to championship-caliber hockey. But, and I know this is probably a genetic flaw, does he really have to be such a sellout?
Chicago is a working-class city. Hockey is a working-class sport. The $500 tickets and overpriced concessions will only encourage the gluttonous to behave badly, to show off.
The Chicago Tribune has identified THAT GUY as Kevin Mize, an area philanthropist and an associate member of the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Association. I’m assuming this position is based on donations and not character.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh. I just know that, as a real fan, I would have been wholeheartedly into the game.
Regardless of all of this–to Adam Pardy, I’m sorry THAT GUY and THAT GIRL were even there. They don’t represent the rest of us. Thankfully, they were thrown out.