Blackhawks

Chicago to host 2017 NHL Draft

blackhawks-nhl-draft-0211.png

Chicago to host 2017 NHL Draft

The Blackhawks have hosted a few events in recent history, including a Winter Classic and a Stadium Series game.

In a year and a half, the NHL’s centennial year, they’ll add a draft to that list.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman formally announced Thursday afternoon that the Blackhawks are hosting the 2017 NHL draft. The two-day event, which will be June 23-24 of 2017, will be held at the United Center.

It’s the first time in franchise history the Blackhawks will host an NHL draft.

“It’s a big day for our franchise a big day for our fans. It’s always fun to bring these jewel events to Chicago,” team president John McDonough said during Thursday’s press conference. “We know the impact they have on our fan base. When we got the [Winter Classic] in 2009 that was a lightning rod forthis franchise. We want this event to be entertaining, we want it to be innovative and we want it to be memorable. The NHL draft isn’t just a symbol of the future, it also provides a snapshot of how important it’s been to the Blackhawks over the years.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The announcement comes one day after city council approved construction of the Blackhawks’ new practice facility, which will open in the fall of 2018.

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz thanked mayor Rahm Emanuel, “who showed the perseverance of a mother in law in bringing the draft to Chicago.”

The Blackhawks have been a part of several high-profile NHL eventsthese last few seasons, beginning with that 2009 Winter Classic they hosted at Wrigley Field. They also hosted a Stadium Series game at Soldier Field in March of 2014.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

saad_crawford_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”