By Matt Brooks, Chicago Blackhawks Account Executive – Youth Hockey
We hit an all-time record for attendance at the Illinois High School Hockey Championships on Friday, March 17th. We had 11,199 fans in attendance (13,992 tickets distributed), surpassing the previous high of 9,418 set in the 2015 game. We had a lot of great promotions for the youth hockey teams this year that really brought the younger generations out. Every Northwest Hockey League (NWHL) team who won a championship was invited to take a photo with their banner in the Blackhawks locker room. We had an AHAI only Meet and Greet with Jamal Mayers, Daniel Carcillo, Adam Burish, and Ben Eager and the Little Blackhawks On-Ice Photo before the Red Division Championship.
The Little Blackhawks are all families of players in their very first couple weeks of playing hockey for the first time. We believe it is so important for these young players to witness a game that they could potentially play in 10+ years.
The Blackhawks social media promotion on all platforms was unbelievable this year. The hype behind the 2017 Championships was remarkable. I’ll never forget the moment when warm-ups ended and we opened up the 200 level. We watched fans pour into all openings completely filling the 200 level bowl. It was by far the proudest moment I’ve had here as an employee, and that is on top of 2 Stanley Cups.
We are already looking forward to building on this one for next season to push into the 300 level seats. We WILL fill this building. This is our absolute favorite day of the year. We are so proud of the product we put out there to make this game as special as possible for these kids. It was humbling to hear from both the New Trier and Providence players how they shaped their entire season around coming back to play at the United Center. High School Hockey is going to be so much bigger even next season when we start seeing the 8U spike in youth participation numbers after the 2010 Stanley Cup finally reach the high school age. I love the direction we’re currently heading.