The Bickell’s have hosted events in the past that have included charity golf tournaments to raise money for local charities that provide funding for abused children, but this was their first Chicago event that was created specifically to promote awareness of Pit Bulls.
Hosted at the swanky Blackhawk-hangout, Studio Paris, tickets were sold in advance for $150.00 and had been sold out for at least two weeks prior to the event with a growing wait list.
When I arrived around 7:30pm, there was already a line to get in. The nightclub began to fill up around 8:00pm with fashionable attendees dressed to impress in their best cocktail attire. The crowd was a mix of couples and singles with women accounting for a majority of the audience.
Things got started when Bryan and Amanda took the stage to welcome friends, family and fans and thanked everyone for their support.
Amanda Bickell, looking beautiful, dressed in a royal blue, short and flirty dress, acknowledged that many were there because they love the Chicago Blackhawks, but by the end of the night she vowed to make sure that everyone loves Pit Bulls too! Amanda also announced their new program, Paws for Strength, which focuses on assisting abused children through the help of certified therapy provided by Pit Bulls who were also once abused.
Amanda informed the crowd that Pit Bulls were once known as the “Nanny” dogs, and with this program they can help bring back that positive image to the breed. By bringing the two together, the Bickells hope to create a positive and healing environment through the human-animal bond while showing the resiliency of rescued Pit Bulls.
Throughout the evening I had the chance to speak with several of the Blackhawks in attendance and started with none other than the hosts of the night, the Bickells.
Bryan picked up where Amanda left off and told me that their primary reason for starting the foundation was to raise awareness for the Pit Bull breed. The Bickell’s have a cute Pit Bull, Bailey, who is on the cover of the Bickell Foundation calendar, “Bick’s Pits” (now available for purchase), and their other pup is a mix named Tucker.
Throughout the night, the Blackhawks players showcased their bar-tending skills as they slung drinks to excited fans, friends and family. Brandon Bollig told me he was most proud of the Cosmopolitan shots he whipped up for a few of the guests. Young goaltender, Annti Raanta, also dazzled fans with his mixology skills.
In addition to enjoying the premium open bar and passed appetizers, guests had the chance to bid on a range of impressive items during the silent and live auction that carried on throughout the night. Auction items included a special dinner with Bryan and Amanda to a trip to Italy in a magnificent villa.
The highlight of the auction was the $1000 raised for a solo performance by Blackhawks’ crooner, Kris Versteeg. One lucky and generous lady shelled out the cash to hear Steeger perform “Faithfully” by Journey on stage in front of a packed house.
I spoke with Versteeg after his show-stopping performance and he told me that he loves singing for people and even sings for his friends at their weddings to a song of their choice. His favorite jam to sing is “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, which maybe you can catch him singing at his favorite bar, Joe’s on Weed Street.
Since being traded from the Florida Panthers back to the Blackhawks, Versteeg is excited to be back in Chicago, but after spending a few seasons in warmer climates, his Bernese Mountain dog, Beauty, is definitely loving the snow more than he is!
I also had the chance to catch up with Blackhawks net-minder, Corey Crawford who looked ever so handsome in a grey sport coat and patterned grey shirt. Crawford mentioned he used to have a small Shih Tzu, but would choose to get a Rottweiler next and name him Bud.
The stylin’ Andrew Shaw was also gracious with his time and told me that he used his fashion sense to pick out his beautiful girlfriend, Chaunette Boulderice’s, black dress for the evening. Shaw did a great job as she looked stunning!
Shaw told me that in the winter months he loves to play hockey, but once summer hits you can find him on the water. Whether it is boating or wake boarding – as long as he’s by the water he’s a happy man.
Shaw currently has two little pups, but he’d like his next dog to either be a Husky named Bob, or a chocolate Labrador named Rolo.
Congratulations are definitely in order for the Bickells for throwing such a well-attended, sophisticated (and fetching) affair that drove hundreds of family, friends and fans out on such a cold and blustery night in Chicago.
After his incredible 2013 postseason performance in the Blackhawks successful Stanley Cup run, Bryan was rewarded with a new 4-year $16 million contract with the Blackhawks this offseason, which guarantees that the friendly Bickell and his lovely bride will continue making a difference in the Chicago charity and social scene for years to come.
Unfortunately, Bryan has struggled lately to return to his postseason numbers, and we can only hope that calendar shoots and chic charity parties attended by adorning fans and loving friends will help Bryan break out of his performance funk.
Watch for upcoming events from the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation as they continue to make meaningful strides in the Chicago charity scene. If you were unable to attend A Fetching Affair and still would like to donate, consider purchasing the Bick’s Pitts calendar and visiting their Foundation website to learn more about upcoming events, initiatives and other ways to get involved.