Chicago Blackhawks fans at the United Center have dissolved their enthusiasm. Fans still fill the seats, but the energy just isn’t the same.
Energy at the United Center Running on Fumes
The rafters, occupied with championship banners sporting the famous Chicago Blackhawks logo, remind fans of a better time. Unfortunately, those times have come and gone. The memories of a dominant, aggressive Blackhawks team remain just that.
While the organization continues moving forward the fans will follow, however the energy inside the United Center, much like it is on the ice, is not what it used to be.
Saying that consistent attendance is now taking on a stale, unenthusiastic presence may sound harsh.
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Compared to the atmosphere two years ago, though, the statement is accurate. The Chicago Blackhawks are 9-14-5 over all and 5-5-3 at the United Center this season.
Per HockeyDB, the Blackhawks still hold the best average attendance in the NHL. Second currently being held by the Montreal Candiens, who have a winning record of 12-10-5.
The crowd is by no means ‘quiet.’ But it is noticeably different.
The United Center Still Looks Packed
This is not to be taken lightly, either.
The Madhouse continues to fill seats and by no means do the Chicago Blackhawks need all hands on deck like they did back on 2006-2007 with an attendance average of 12,727.
Not even close.
However, the noticeable gaps in the seats from the various levels has increased. High attendance numbers are still reported. That said, the “sell out” crowd announcements have decreased. No, the numbers are not recorded by ticket sales.
he attendance numbers are tickets scanned in. But, without energy, you might as well consider the game on the same level as a high school assembly.
At the United Center, if you can hear the anthem singer, something is wrong.
A Different Crowd
Sunday night, the Blackhawks fell 2-3 to the Calgary Flames. Not the worst game of the season but still not enough to get even a single point.
So far, fans are too used to this outcome. But something else felt a little off.
The crowd was checked out.
As the ‘Hawks took the ice before the opening face-off, a good amount of the fans remained seated. This continued throughout most of the game as well, although two Blackhawks goals would change that.
Chelsea Dagger felt like only a goal song.
While there were cheers and excitement for the goal by Jonathan Toews to tie the game 1-1 in the first period, the celebration was short lived. This was even more so apparent for Dylan Strome’s second goal with the Chicago Blackhawks and fifth goal this season in the second period to make it a 2-3 game.
When the Blackhawks are trailing, the crowd hurls three words of encouragement onto the ice. The chant goes, “Let’s go, Hawks!” This continues over and over and at ridiculous volume levels.
Sunday night versus Calgary, the chant never took off. One half of the United Center caught on while the other half didn’t even think twice about joining in.
A United Center full of jeers instead of cheers. Not even hearing Chelsea Dagger twice could get the crowd into the game and attempt to rejuvenate their beloved Blackhawks struggling to enter the Calgary zone.
In a city that has embraced this Blackhawks team so well, it’s heartbreaking to watch the fan base begin to deteriorate.
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The Blackhawks do seem to be playing well enough at home (5-5-3) to attract fans. However, it’s not enough and that’s been their story all season. The attitude around the fan base has downshifted and begun to slow down. The Blackhawks can’t expect a madhouse in the sense of cheers and excitement. It’s become the exact opposite, actually. Simply put, the United Center has become a house of fed up, mad fans.
The “Madhouse on Madison” seems all too fitting.