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Blackhawks Fashion

As the Blackhawks bandwagon loads up this week, discount be prepared to see Hawks gear from every angle: from your bartender to your dentist to that silver fox in accounting – everyone is proudly displaying their Hawks pride and joy, and really, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be as well.

At SDI our love and appreciation of sport and fashion run equally deep – which is why we get so damn excited when our city gets to these types of situations where really – anything Blackhawks goes!

Retro Brand: Clark Street Sports, $29.99

We’re big believers that there is never a bad time, or a bad outfit to rock a team shirt, but with the Hawks inching closer to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third year in a row, and the state of excitement that has taken over our city, NOW is the time to proudly wear your Hawks gear, and of course look hot and fabulous while doing it.

To prove that there really isn’t an inappropriate place to wear Hawks apparel, we picked this Blackhawks Retro Brand racerback tank from Clark Street Sports ($29.99) and paired it with four different and perfectly acceptable looks to inspire throughout the Stanley Cup Finals.

Look #1:  The Madhouse

By Stanley Cup Finals time the Madhouse is swarming with the actual season ticket holders, fat corporate cats and diehards with cash. With ticket prices starting at/around $400 for upper level seats at the UC, be prepared to shell out some major cash to experience it live. If you are lucky enough to go, keep in mind the chilly temps which means no shorts, no matter how hot it is outside, and always bring an extra layer

Look #2: The Office

No matter how corporate your office is, this is probably the two weeks out of the year you can get away with a Hawks tee – all while getting props from others for your bold and insightful choice in office fashion. This look is still polished and professional with the option of showing as much tomahawk as you please thanks to the buttoned cardigan. Come 5:30PM, ditch the cardigan and head to Happy Hour, just be prepared for some major looks and new friends.

Look #3: Backyard BBQ

With consistent warm temps finally upon us, the option of BBQing around a Hawks game is once and for all a reality. Comfort and functionality is key for this setting, as you never know what you may be asked to do: assist at the grill, impromptu game of bocci ball, or fetch more beverages from the local grocery – on foot.

Look #4: Saturday Night at the Newest Hot Spot

Love it or hate it – bars are booming thanks to the Hawks. Lines, crowds, fair-weather-fans – expect them all if you venture out to any place noteworthy, even your favorite local watering hole could seem annoyingly busy these next two weeks as the Stanley Cup Finals and arrival of summer create the perfect storm. It goes without saying, dress the part all while working in your favorite Saturday night pieces.

Enjoy the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs and remember that no matter what you wear or how good you may look – attitude and mojo is half the battle.  Not convinced? Just ask the Hawks!

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2014 Chicago Stadium Series Style

The crafty minds over at the Chicago Blackhawks, sales the NHL, sale and the Chicago Park District have conveniently staged one of the biggest Chicago sporting events of the decade within one of the best time slots imaginable.

Conveniently staged after a three-week Olympic break in the Blackhawks’ regular season, drugstore and in the midst of one of the worst Chicago winters in recent history, the 2014 CoorsLight NHL Stadium Series lands at Soldier Field on Saturday night for a NHL showdown that is one not to be missed.

Our city is hungry for Blackhawk team action, and a nationally televised matchup under the lights at Soldier Field is just what the doctor ordered. The last time the Blackhawks played in a regular season NHL game was in their 0-2 shut-out loss on February 7th in Phoenix. Since then, ten Blackhawks traveled to Sochi, six returned with medals: three with gold and three with silver.

There’s been plenty of chatter on whether the Hawks that played in Sochi will be ready to go Thursday night in New York versus the Rangers and for Saturday night’s showdown at Soldier Field versus the East-leading Pittsburgh Penguins. My thoughts? These guys are professional athletes. Hell yes, they’ll be ready to go – and physically and mentally they should be. Isn’t that why they are being paid the big bucks while others wait patiently in the AHL?

I digress. Let’s move on to Saturday’s mega matchup at Soldier Field and shake things up a bit with what to KNOW first:

KNOW:

As the fourth and final matchup of the 2014 CoorsLight NHL Stadium Series, the NHL picked a good one to cap off the innaugral sponsor-driven series. The Penguins and the Blackhawks sit neck-to-neck in the league standings and are easily two of the most respected and coveted franchises in the NHL with the loudest and proudest fan bases of any market. Expect a outpour of Penguins fans to be pouring into our city by Thursday, if not earlier.

GO:

The NHL is taking full advantage of this dreamy matchup and just yesterday announced a free to the public Fan Festival from 3:00pm – 7:00pm CT, prior to the 7:00pm CT face-off that will include sponsor-driven booths, plenty of CoorsLight and Molson products, Stadium Series merchandise, and live entertainment.

Plenty of tickets are still available (find the best deals HERE) with prices falling each day as the weather forecast shakes out. Saturday’s high is 19 with a low of 9, which most likely means a balmy 12-13 degree temp when the puck drops at 7:00pm.

This should surprise no one considering the incredibly sh***y winter we’ve had, but I’m guessing that more people than expected will opt to watch this one in the comfort of their own La-Z-boys or in a warm pub with friends, sans the layers and the hefty price tag.

WEAR:

Whether you are braving the elements and heading to Soldier Field or choosing to enjoy the matchup in the comfort of your own home or favorite watering hole, this game is definitely one you want to put some thought into when throwing your game day look together.

2014 Chicago Stadium Series Style

If Soldier Field is your destination, obviously warmth is your #1 priority. My philosophy has always been if it is below 35 degrees, forget trying to look hot and opt for warmth and comfort.

I love this hunting-inspired furry Blackhawks hat from Clark Street Sports. Not only is it crazy warm (I have one) but the crocheted-looking pattern adds an element of style without looking too sporty. The ear flaps are completely covered in faux fur, and it even has a chin hook guaranteeing that the wind stays out, and your head stays warm.

Clark Street Sports

Clark Street Sports

Unlike the NFL, the NHL hasn’t issued a new bag policy for Solider Field (at least not one I’m aware of), but still, why would you lug your fancy bag to Solider Field only to have it sit on the dirty cement amongst beer stains and peanut shells? Never, NEVER carry a decent bag to a sporting event. If you can’t wash it, don’t carry it, which is why I LOVE this canvas Blackhawks tote from CafePress. Set it and forget it.

CafePress: $17.99

CafePress: $17.99

Now if the sports bar is your destination of choice, warmth is still a necessity. You may not be freezing your ass off cursing at the winds whipping of the lake, but you’ll look like a fool prancing into the bar with anything sleeveless.

Blackhawks Grey Reversible Burnout Long Sleeve by Retro Brand, Clark Street Sports: $49.99

Blackhawks Grey Reversible Burnout Long Sleeve by Retro Brand, Clark Street Sports: $49.99

I love, love this Blackhawks burnout sweatshirt from Retro Brand for cold Saturday nights. With the ragged boatneck, you could rock this off shoulder (if it’s going to be one of those kind of nights) or wear a wife-beater under it for a more causal look. Pair this with skinnies or leggings and your warmest tall boots, and you’ve got a killer game night look that is sure to turn some heads.

Check back in on Friday for our game day cheat sheet for Saturday night’s matchup. Until then, stay warm and stay sporty, my friends.

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Road Trip to Rockford

If you’re a Blackhawks fan then you’re probably familiar with the team’s AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs. Known as the Blackhawks’ ‘farm team’, pills the IceHogs are responsible for keeping the Hawks stocked with the best young talent season after season as they independently play and compete in the extremely competitive western conference of the 30-team American Hockey League.

While it’s tough to beat a trip to the UC to see the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, decease a  road trip to Rockford to see the IceHogs delivers best-in-class hockey without the steep ticket prices, huge crowds and horrendous traffic, all while providing a fun and quick getaway from the big city.

The IceHogs were introduced to Rockford in 1999 and in 2005 became the first AHL team to be affliaited with a NHL, at the time, the Nashville Predators. Conveniently for Chicagoans, the IceHogs became affiliated with the Blackhawks in 2007. In just the last few years the IceHogs have produced players like Corey Crawford, Brandon Bollig, Andrew Shaw, and Antti Raanta to name a few.

Source: IceHogs.com

IceHogs tickets are a fraction of what you would pay for a Blackhawks game with prices starting at $8.00 for terrace level seats and max out at $30.00 to sit on the glass for premium games. Last time I checked, a domestic draught at the United Center is $8.00.

Depending on where you are in the Chicagoland area, a trip to Rockford will set you back one to two hours. I’ve spent that much time sitting in traffic trying to get to the United Center from the north side of the city. At least on the drive to Rockford, you’re actually moving. 

To prove just how much of a value play and the fun that is in store in a Road Trip to Rockford, my friend Sam and I made the hike west this Saturday night for the Lake Erie Monsters matchup.

It took us just over an hour to get there from the western suburbs and once we arrived in Rockford we parked directly across the street from the BMO Harris Bank Center and it only cost us $5.00.

We decided to have dinner at District a local bar that’s known for its support of the IceHogs.  The city of Rockford seemed to be relatively quiet on a Saturday night, that is every place but District. Unfortunately at 5:00pm the bar was packed to the gills.  We didn’t want to risk missing puck drop so we decided to find food elsewhere.  Note: if heading to District for pre game dinner, get there early or call ahead for reservations.

Our plan B was a small bar called Kiwi Cafe & Bar.  We were very glad we did.  Not only was the food good but the waiter was just as cute as can be, and that’s always a plus in my book!  While dining we noticed from the windows  the throngs of people on the street heading towards the BMO Harris Bank Center and knew this would be a good night.

After dinner it was a quick walk across the street to the arena.  We headed to Will Call to retrieve our tickets for the 7:00pm puck drop and noticed large crowds trying to score last minute seats.

We headed upstairs to where the action is and checked out some of the merchandise, including buttons with the players faces on them where I picked up an Antti Raanta pin as a souviner.  

Now here’s the special part: the atmosphere at an Icehogs game is really something worth experiencing.  The BMO Harris Arena capacity is 10,500 compared to the United Center’s 20,500, so there’s a different level of intimacy at a Hogs game that you just can’t experience at the UC. No seat is a bad seat with great views of every slap shot and stop at the net. You can honestly see the expressions of players as they face off, take shots on goal, sit in the penalty box and on the bench. At a Hogs game you really experience a different more intimate type of play action and overall game that is hard to find in larger arenas, from the cowbells and chanting of the crowd to the mix of real families and locals in the stands.  It’s impossible not to get caught up in it all and enjoy yourself.

Jeremy Morin

A Hogs’ game is also a great way to learn the game if you’re new to hockey.  A AHL game has a slightly slower pace than a NHL matchup, so it’s easier to follow.  Saturday’s matchup was evenly matched as the #4 ranked Hogs (of the Midwest division) took on the #3 Lake Erie Monsters (of the North Division). Sam and I enjoyed a 6-1 Hogs crushing victory over the Lake Erie Monsters and we even got to vote on the three stars of the game.

One of the coolest things about going to IceHogs game is getting to see players who have previously played with the Blackhawks, like Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin.  Sadly for us, Pirri was scratched on Saturday night but we did get to see Jeremy Morin score a sweet snipe goal.  Check out the one-on-one below with SDI and Pirri from last season.

The stick room

Brandon Pirri and author, Erin Lerchbacker

The night got even better after the game as we had the chance to check out the Hogs official stick room and meet with SDI favorite centerman Brandon Pirri.  I asked Brandon about the difference between the fans in Rockford and the fans in Chicago.  He told us the experience with the fans in Rockford is a closer one as fans have the chance to get closer to the action. Pirri also commented on the difference between living in the Rockford community and the opportunity it allows players to interact with their fans, something Brandon said is pretty cool.

After the game, we figured we’d check out some of this Hogs’ community action first hand and headed to well-known Hogs’ post-game hangout, RBIs As I expected the place was very busy.  RBIs is definitely a local place where Hogs feel comfortable hanging out throughout the week and after games. It’s a younger crowd where you’ll see a ton of Icehogs/Blackhawks gear.

By the time we arrived there were no tables left (strike 2) so we stood and took in the scene while enjoying a post game beverage as the bar continued to fill up with people from the game.

Shortly after we arrived so did IceHogs goaltender Jason LaBarbera and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.  It was obvious from their demeanor that they are regulars: they weren’t carded at the door and the bartender gave Dahlbeck a high five when he told her they had won their game.

Sam and I congratulated them on a good game as well.  Neither of them seemed surprised or annoyed that we knew who they were or had approached them, which is more than I can say for my last experience at RBIs with last season’s captain Martin St.Pierre.

Jeremy Morin

After finishing our drinks Sam and I decided to head home and ran into Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri on our way out.  I guess he wasn’t kidding about going out and interacting with the fans regularly. #score

All in all it was a fantastic night full of great hockey, good people and real experiences. Thank you Mike, Nate, Sam and everyone at the IceHogs organization who made us feel so welcome and way cooler than we really are.

So ladies, quit waiting around for the Blackhawks tickets to drop in price, because they won’t. Instead, grab your girls, your guy, whomever is ready and willing and head to Rockford for a unique and value filled hockey experience that just can’t be delivered in Chicago.

For more information on the Rockford IceHogs including upcoming games and tickets, head to their website and be sure to follow them on Twitter at @goicehogs. 

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We may be four cold, case long months away from the first pitch at Wrigley Field, look but thankfully for Cubs fans, buy cialis the annual Cubs Convention, and the see and be seen parties that come along with it, are right around the corner.

The 29th Annual Cubs Convention rolls into town Friday, January 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, and along with the thousands of Cubs faithful the event draws each year comes a handful of must-hit fundraiser parties that marry Chicago sports and the local celebrity scene like no other.

First up on the Cubs party circuit is former Cub outfielder, David DeJesus and the David DeJesus Foundation’s “Strike A Chord” Karaoke Fundraiser at American Junkie on Thursday, January 16th from 6:30pm – 10:30pm.

David and Kim DeJesus at the David DeJesus Strike a Pose Fundraiser (Photo Credit: Hallie Duesenberg)

David and Kim DeJesus will join current and former Cubs, their WAGs, attendees, and local musicians to rock the mic all for charity. As with any karaoke-inspired event, cocktails will be flowing with a full open bar and in addition to the tasty selections being served up by American Junkie, check out the impressive list of participating restaurants that will also be passing heavy apps: Chicago Q, Siena Tavern, Wow Bao and GT Fish & Oyster.

Cocktails begin at 6:30pm with the karaoke contest starting at 8:00pm. The night will also include a live auction and raffle. Once the crooning ends, stick around afterward and dance the night away to DJ Kasper.

Tickets are $125.00 per person in advance and $150.00 at the door with a portion of the proceeds benefitting ALS research. Purchase tickets HERE.

David DeJesus played less than two seasons with the Cubs before being traded this August to the Washington Nationals and only four days later to the Tampa Bay Rays where he just re-signed a two year deal.  But thanks to his productivity as a Cub and his charitable ways with the help of his beautiful and socially active Chicago native wife, Kim, the DeJesuses have left a lasting impression on Chicagoans and continue to keep the city as their home base.

Founded in 2012 by David and Kim, the David DeJesus Foundation is committed to helping families in crisis who lack access to basic human needs in Chicago, as well as the rest of the world.

 

The very next day on Friday, January 17, retired Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will host his 3rd Annual Woody’s Winter Warm-Up Celebrity Mixer from 8:00pm – 11:00pm at Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier.

The Warm-Up will be emceed by radio personality Pete McMurray and television host Catie Keogh and showcase Chicago Cubs (past and present), celebrities and media personalities as ‘guest-bartenders’ mixing drinks and competing for tips to raise money for WFF.

Local celebs and media include include Anna Davlantes, Allison Rosati (NBC), Kathy Hart (Eric & Kathy), Eric Ferguson (Eric & Kathy), Ryan Chiaverini (Windy City LIVE), David Kaplan (Comcast SportsNet), Peggy Kusinski (NBC), Lou Canellis (Fox), Sarah Spain (ESPN radio), Rafer Weigel (ABC), Rob Johnson (CBS), Dionne Miller (Fox), Showbiz Shelley (B96), Danni Allen (winner of The Biggest Loser), Whitney Reynolds (The Whitney Reynolds Show), Mindie Kaplan (Sun Times Happy Hour with Mindie), Cub fan favorites Todd Walker, Ted Lilly and Derrek Lee and  ‘Hall of Famers’ Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams.

In addition to the premium open bar, dinner buffet, silent auction and DJ, attendees can meet and greet local media and current and former Cubs players in this hot annual event. Tickets are $150.00 per person in advance and $175.00 at the door and can be purchased HERE.

Ready to splurge? Fans can also reserve a booth for up to four people for $1,000.00 that includes table side cocktail service and early VIP entry. All proceeds benefit the Wood Family Foundation.

Kerry Wood played twelve seasons with the North Siders before being traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2009 after struggling with injuries his final five seasons. Wood returned to the Cubs in 2011 as a reliever before retiring in spring of 2012 as one of the most celebrated and admired pitchers in Cubs history.

Sarah and Kerry Wood with SDI’s Lara Khalaf this summer at Woody’s Wiffle Ball Classic

Kerry and his wife Sarah founded the Wood Family Foundation in June 2011 to help improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for children’s charities and the causes they support. They are very active in the community and just this summer hosted the 1st annual Woody’s Wiffle Ball Classic at Wrigley Field.

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Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News
It wasn’t pretty, see but Derrick Rose and the Bulls delivered a nail-biter win in the Halloween season home-opener against Carmelo Anthony and the NY Knicks. After the Bulls blew a 13-point lead and struggled on both sides of the ball, remedy it was none other than Derrick Rose who sunk the game winning shot with 5.7 seconds left to seal the 82-81 win for the Bulls.

SDI Founder, here Monica Murphy Vargas, visited Fox 32 News Good Day Chicago on Friday morning to weigh in on the Bulls win and the mounting pressure on Derrick Rose to deliver this season.

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Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

SDI Founder, seek Monica Murphy Vargas chimes in on the surging number of female NFL Fans.  FOX 32 News Chicago’s Tisha Lewis reports.

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