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Blackhawk Up Turns 8 Years Old Today

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June 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews walks off the stage after announcing the 29th overall pick during the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
June 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews walks off the stage after announcing the 29th overall pick during the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s hard to believe that Blackhawk Up has been around for 8 years, but that’s what the numbers say as our first post went live on June 28, 2009.

I wasn’t around for that first post in 2009.  Jeffrey Bartl founded Blackhawk Up in 2009 and was the first editor of the site.  There have been five editors of Blackhawk Up, Bartl who also founded Cheer the Anthem.  Cody Pugh, Greg Boysen who left to run Second City Hockey, and yours truly Keith Schultz with Colin Likas joining me a couple summers ago as Co-Editor.

I found out about Blackhawk Up when I got my first IPhone and looked for Chicago Blackhawks apps.  Back then each site had it’s own app which I thought was pretty cool, and living in Orlando it really gave me a lot of insight for the what was going on with the Chicago Blackhawks.   Then when Bartl left I saw things on the site about looking for writers. So with internet poker outlawed, I was looking for a new hobby, so after a few emails I got signed up to write about the Blackhawks in January of 2012.

When August rolled around, Greg left for Second City and I decided I was going to at least write one post a day even if there was a lockout.  Well after 21 days of writing posts they asked me to become the editor and I took the job.

There of course have been some great ups like 2 Stanley Cups (3 since Blackhawk Up started) and some first round exits that have been tough.

The one thing I wanted to do is put out new material every day for Chicago Blackhawks fans to read and enjoy.  The other thing I wanted to do is build a staff so there would be multiple posts daily on the site.

So in 8 years we have published over 8,400 posts and I have posted 3,510 times.  Along the way I have been blessed with some great staff writers like Sean Fitzgerald, Brian Kinkade,  Skylar Peters, Johannah Lowder, Joe Kremel, and Ericka McFee who really built up the site year after year. We are now over 10,000 followers on our Twitter site, and I still remember telling Brian it would be great if we could get over 400 one night before a game in 2013.

Our current staff which includes Sean and previously mentioned Colin also include Gail Kauchak, Juliana Nikac, Mario Tirabassi, Aaron Goldschmidt, Jake Martin, Brandon Newberry, Tim Lively, Jeffery Franklin, George Clifford. If I missed a name I’m sorry.  Everyone has done a great job and I hope everyone realizes how much work goes into getting everyone this news on a daily basis.

There was a time not long ago the Chicago Blackhawks toiled in    NHL obscurity.

ESPN rated the Original Six franchise the worst in sports. “Dollar Bill” Wirtz alienated fans by blacking out home games and turned a blind eye to the half-empty United Center losing season after losing season.

Stars from the glory years of the ‘90s like Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour and Chris Chelios were sent packing, and most fans who basked in 28 straight playoff appearances from 1969 to 1997 went with them. And although the ‘Hawks still face criticism despite last season’s trip to the Western Conference Finals, it’s a different type of criticism – the voices of high expectations.

People began questioning the 12-year, $68 million deal given to former Detroit Red Wing Marian Hossa well before the perennial 40-goal scorer underwent shoulder surgery, forcing Hossa to miss the first two months of the season. Then came potential of losing key restricted free agents after offers weren’t delivered in time, which was followed by the abrupt firing of GM Dale Tallon and the installing of Stan Bowmen in Tallon’s old position.

President John McDonough came under fire at last weekend’s Blackhawks Convention from fans who, despite the success of Joel Quenneville, are still curious about the early season firing of former coach Denis Savard.

Recent shakeups within the organization have raised eyebrows, but hopefully the city of Chicago realizes why – the criticism officially means the Blackhawks are back from the dead.

McDonough has unofficially lived by the motto, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” dating back to his days running the Chicago Cubs. While some moves may have been questionable, at least the fans are back questioning. On-ice success is only a part of what Chicago wanted – it wanted to feel the passion of Blackhawks hockey again from within the organization.

Now, they have it. The criticism is for good reason, but now it’s time to believe.

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