Are you curious to see how the 2013-2014 Chicago Blackhawks team is shaping up? Of course you are! After a Cup season-ending win and the Summer of Stanley, no rx hospital we’re all anxious for the Hawks to return to the ice.
Thanks to the lockout last season, the lapse between seasons is just under three months this year. Thousands of lucky fans will get a first glimpse of the 2013-14 Blackhawks next Monday, September 16th at the sold out Blackhawks Training Camp Festival.
Blackhawks training camp began on Monday at Notre Dame in South Bend and goes through Sunday, September 15th. Training camp is primarily closed to the fans as players prepare for the upcoming preseason. However, the Blackhawks organization would never forget their fans and have organized the Fan Festival at United Center on Monday.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. with a Stanley Cup viewing from 5:45 until 6:15 p.m. The players will take the ice for a warmup, followed by the amazing Jim Cornelison singing the national anthem. At 7:00 p.m. the Blackhawks will scrimmage.
With the training camp festival cancelled last year due to the lockout, I knew I needed to snag a ticket to this year’s event. So what will I be looking for at my first training camp experience? This will be the first opportunity to get a look at some of the new players the team has picked up, such as Ryan Hartman. The Blackhawks acquired the 18-year old forward from South Carolina over the summer. Other new players on the watch list are call-ups from the Rockford Icehogs, like forward Brandon Pirri (check out the SDI interview with Pirri above) or defenseman Dylan Olsen. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what our new goalie, Antti Raanta, will bring to the ice.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket, there’s still a fun (and healthy) way to participate. While those of us inside the UC are sitting on our bums, you can take part in the Mad Dash to Madison, a 5K walk/run or a 10K roller race. There are still spots left so head over to the Blackhawks website to register. The cost is $35 to participate and those who complete the race will receive a Jonathon Toews bobblehead.
If you’re unable to attend either of these events, don’t forget preseason begins on Tuesday September 17th with an exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings at home. There are six preseason games throughout the month of September, three at home, with the regular season beginning on October 1st when the Blackhawks take on the Washington Capitals at home.