Chicago Blackhawks hockey winning the hearts and wallets of fans

Chicago Blackhawks success bringing fans back
Chicago Blackhawks success bringing fans back

Fresh from helping to rescue the team from irrelevance in the local market, Chicago Blackhawks management now has an almost equally vexing task: preventing the franchise from becoming too popular.

Hockey's hottest young team has brought the fans out of hibernation, filling the cavernous United Center with more than 21,000 rabid red-sweatered rooters for each game, leading the NHL in attendance. But top team brass, transplanted from the hyper-popular Cubs, realize they must still build a fan base beyond what was for so long branded "cult status." The old saying in Chicago was there were 40,000 hockey fans in Chicago, and half of them were at the arena.

Originally published