In just a flip of a carboard (?) square sign the Chicago Blackhawks' ownership (the Wirtz family) contingent has seen what looked like an outlook of tough gains into what is rapidly becoming an influx of millions overnight. With ticket sales, jersey sales, and new or re-newed interest in the team stemming from the reveal that Connor Bedard will be a Blackhawk, it looks like the United Center as well as Arenas worldwide (who knows!) will see an up tick in Blackhawks based profit.
Per some reports that have now doubled since I first started this article, I am estimating somewhere in the range of six to seven million (an estimate based on scaling growth given the percentage increase in the first release of information). That is unheard of, especially since it was anticipated that the franchise would continue its "discounted" seating and events to entice people to attend games. Well, those days were short lived.
Connor Bedard, unlike most of the prospects in this class (Fantilli and Carlsson could make the jump) will be in the NHL from day 1. That means that a fanbase can just instantly start to watch him, cheer for him, and buy his themed merchandise.
While the other fanbases or casual fans around the world seem to not share our enthusiasm (a quick check at your social media will confirm this), it is obvious to me that the narrative growing is good for the entire league and the sport of hockey.
If we want to grow our sport and its reach then pushing forth our greatest storylines and players is a must. The bigger the reach, the more kids play, and the better the chances are that competition is at it's peak in the years to come. This should be the goal of our league or is it just me that sees this?
The growing suspicion that the league fixed the lottery for Chicago is preposterous to me. They released, as has become tradition, their nearly 20 min step by step video of the drawing with witnesses. I'm not exactly sure how they would fix this. If ball 14 came up then Columbus was winning, however it was ball 13 which was Chicago. That's all there was to it from my view.
You want to dive into the Knicks and Patrick Ewing before technology and better and safer measures than by all means let's talk about frozen envelopes and whom Ernst & Whinney actually worked for... Or how magically Derrick Rose, a Chicago kid, went where? Where did LeBron James go?
No, this is Connor Bedard whom is a proud Canadian that loves the Canucks and whom every single one of our northern border mates wanted to stay "in house". It didn't happen mainly because fate said otherwise. You want to tell Chicago that they don't deserve it, fine please do so but it will be to Kyle Davidson and Luke Richardson whom had nothing to do with what happened or Danny Wirtz and Jamie Faulkner whom were the VP of Marketing and Sales of Wirtz Beverage or Director of KPMG US in Texas at the time respectively.
How about telling us we don't deserve Connor Bedard because of the scandal involving our former prospect Kyle Beac because there is now a reason to "call to arms", but not making a sound about the affair or standing up for him before. No, keyboard courage is nothing new but just like everything else on the internet this will pass just as soon as it was here. Want to continue to be upset? Sure, you do you but we as a Blackhawks fanbase will continue to ignore you while being excited to watch OUR great new player on the ice. Money in for the Blackhawks and the league is good. Kids across the world new interest in hockey is good! At the end of the day, we will cheer for the Blackhawks and you will cheer for your team. That's sports and competition, if done right is healthy and fun. Just remember, be nice and continue to love this sport!
Dividends already coming through:
I was on a call with my nephew that has never shown an interest in hockey in his life. He loves the NBA, that's his sport. By the end of our conversation he responded, "Shoot, I may need to buy a Connor Bedard jersey." Now that's growth I'm here for!
To sum up everything I want to say: The league just got a huge win. If you're upset, be upset but then get over it because the growth and enjoyment of hockey just got a huge boost last night. Go Blackhawks!