Here’s my challenge: How to tie in an excellent business lunch in downtown Chicago today with observations made of the throngs of happy revelers celebrating the official victory parade for the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. After all, the PRDude (aka Edward M. Bury) writes about public relations and his quest for a new great full-time position. (I’ll stop with the third person.) But before I get to that, listen to this cool song by the Dick Marx Orchestra, “Here Come the Hawks.” Don’t you feel like a fan?
Here goes, some random thoughts that will hold true to the nature of this blog:
- The Blackhawks Brought Good PR to Chicago. In 2006, Chicago’s NHL hockey franchise was deemed by some guy at ESPN the worst in professional sports. Judging by lots of empty seats at the United Center, a streak of lousy seasons, poor drafts, management changes and more, there might have been some validity. But no more. The Blackhawks are one of pro sports most popular and exciting teams, led by young stars like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Winning the Cup has brought a tremendous amount of positive exposure to Chicago; many will say, “that’s good PR!” I agree.
- First Stanley Cup Win Since 1961 Opened Hockey to New Audience. As the team marched toward the Stanley Cup finals, momentum grew; but not just among the hockey faithful — those who followed the Blackhawks and the team for decades — but among an entirely new audience. Along the parade route today, which ran through Chicago’s Loop to the North Michigan Avenue bridge, the streets were lined with all manner of people: Whites, African Americans, Hispanics — most wearing a sweater (that’s what they call hockey jerseys) or T-Shirt adorned with the great Blackhawk native American logo or some slogan. That’s good PR for the sport of hockey, especially if these fans continue to support the team and the game.
- Parade Part of a Hat Trick of Big Events. The raucous parade and celebration to honor the Blackhawks was just one of three big events taking place in Chicago today. Along my city’s spectacular lakefront, music fans gathered for the 2010 Chicago Blues Fest. This year, the world’s largest free music event dedicated to the blues is a tribute to the legendary (aren’t all old blues guys “legendary?”) Howlin Wolf — perhaps the rawest and most incendiary of the real Delta bluesmen. I never saw the real Wolf belt out the blues, but I visited the Fest and heard some guy who did a credible job of matching Wolf’s growl on “I Ain’t Superstitious.” And, on the North Side, my beloved Chicago Cubs were taking on the White Sox in the Crosstown Classic baseball series. This year, both teams, to put it plainly, stink. And, the Sox took the first game 10-5. But this rivalry brought out fans and generated some excitement for America’s pastime in Chicago. Celebrating the blues, from which jazz, rock and country were born, and a long-running baseball rivalry reflect the diversity of this great city. That’s good PR for Chicago.
- And, Finally, Just Random Thoughts. Before meeting my friends for lunch, here’s what I thought and observed:
- Will the Blackhawks be able to return the Cup to Chicago? It’s hard enough to win it once.
- What was the turning point in the 2009-2010 season for the Blackhawks? When did they believe?
- What will happen to the sweaters and shirts, banners and flags after today? Will people put them away until next year?
- Just observing today’s celebrating and taking notes made be feel like a newsman again.
- And, finally, we dined outside at the Park Grill, which is in Millennium Park. We we seated in the patio that in around six months will be turned into an outdoor ice skating rink. How poetic.