Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Fans Have Every Right To Be Upset

By Aaron Goldschmidt
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 08: Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) reacts to a Dallas Stars right wing Tyler Pitlick (18) goal in the 2nd period during an NHL hockey game between the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks on March 08, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo By Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 08: Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) reacts to a Dallas Stars right wing Tyler Pitlick (18) goal in the 2nd period during an NHL hockey game between the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks on March 08, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo By Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks fans are having a hard time facing the reality of a rebuild, and the poor play of this team certainly isn’t helping

Frustration seems to be a word floating around the Chicago Blackhawks’ dressing room after every loss.  And that’s seven of them in a row now.  Leaders on this team are speechless, the coach is trying to find positives in so many negatives and the general manager has no intention of “going for it” in terms of making a last-minute push for the playoffs.

This team has given up.

In the last few weeks, criticism has been directed at Blackhawks fans, specifically on Twitter, and I’m here to tell you fans have every right to be mad.

Yes, it’s true this core group of players has won the Stanley Cup three times where other cities would die for just one.  It’s also true that it’s not fair to judge players who have played a lot of hockey the last decade and who may have lost a step.  And I will admit that nobody on Twitter should be casting any type of hatred for any player on the team; that’s just silly.

But Twitter is a tool for individuals to voice their opinion no matter how outlandish it may be.  Smart people don’t necessarily take one person’s opinion and have it represent the group as a whole.  They see trends and themes, and maybe you can draw conclusions from that data.  And so far, you can probably tell people aren’t pleased with the demise of one of Chicago’s most beloved teams.

Reasons for frustration

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There are a few reasons why you can’t blame fans for being upset, and I’m going to start with the simplest one: money.

As patrons of the Chicago Blackhawks, fans are investors.  They invest their time and money into a business that doesn’t give them anything back except for experiences and, hopefully, joy.  And since the Blackhawks have become so successful over the years, the price of the experience of seeing the Blackhawks has become a premium in Chicago sports.

Just like investors in any company, organizational moves and decisions will be scrutinized by the people who consume their products.

As for the players underachieving, I think there is a misconception here.  I really don’t think Blackhawks fans hate the players on the ice, or even their large contracts.  ‘Hawks fans hate the situation, and that is the realization the team is not a perennial Stanley Cup contender anymore.

It’s frustrating watching young players like Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad struggle, and not being able to understand why things have chanced so quickly.  But in this day and age with the salary cap the way it is, successful teams have to build through the draft and not become too loyal to players despite their successes.

Blackhawks fans knew this day was coming, but they probably didn’t think it would be this quick.  At the end of the day, the NHL is a business, and the “what have you done for me lately” motto is a brutal yet true realization.

I also believe everybody is grateful for the championships this group of players has brought our city.  The parades, the long summers and the parties brought tons of joy to our friends and families that we will never forget.

But this reputation the Blackhawks organization has built for itself isn’t regressing as fast as the team.  ‘Hawks fans have been spoiled over the years with red-carpet conventions, wonderful charity events and premium entertainment at the United Center.  And all of John McDonough’s marketing strategies work extremely well, if the ‘Hawks are winning.  But now that they’re not, fans are stuck and confused.

Approaching difficult times

It’s an interesting time for this organization and its fans, and in due time everything will pan out.  But until the dust has settled, voice your opinion.

The Blackhawks have a passionate fan base that travels well, sports the Indian Head with pride all over the world holds its team to a high standard.  So be humble going forward and give your team the support it deserves, but don’t EVER let anybody judge you or question the type of fan you are.

We all say things we don’t mean when things aren’t going our way, but at the end of the day we’ll move forward.

Next: 5 Thoughts From Blackhawks 7th Consecutive Loss

Thanks for hanging in there with us at Blackhawk Up.  We promise to continue to provide our best insight and coverage of the Blackhawks through thick and thin.

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