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Blackhawks nominated as Sports Team of the Year by SportsBusiness Journal

Penguins Blackhawks Hockey

Fireworks go off after the national anthem before the NHL Stadium Series hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Soldier Field in Chicago. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Steve Lundy) MANDATORY CREDIT MAGS OUT TV OUT


The Chicago Blackhawks are one of six nominees for Sports Team of the Year in the seventh annual Sports Business Awards.

The Stanley Cup champion ‘Hawks are up against the Boston Red Sox, Golden State Warriors, Portland Timbers, Seattle Seahawks and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Chicago leads the NHL in attendance, averaging 22,802 at the United Center (and one sold-out game at Soldier Field.) The ‘Hawks also led the league in attendance the previous five seasons.

That’s a far cry from where the Original Six club was for the first few seasons of the new millennium, bottoming out in 2006-07 when average attendance was just 12,727 (29th in the NHL) and hockey was an afterthought in the Windy City.

Another Original Six club that had struggled to maintain relevancy in a big sports city, the Boston Bruins, received the 2012 Sports Team of the Year Award after winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, its first championship since 1972.

PS -- NBC Sports Group is nominated in three categories: Best in Sports Media, Best in Sports Television, and Best in Digital Sports Media.