It's no secret that the Blackhawks' fanbase has been on the rise the past few years; winning two Stanley Cups in four seasons will do that.
But it's not just the on-ice successes that have resulted in sold-out crowds night after night on Madison Street. It's also the efforts the team makes to establish a relationship with all fans new and old.
Crain's Danny Ecker released an article on Tuesday about the growth within the Blackhawks' female fanbase. According to Scarborough Research, women now make up 38 percent of the team's faithful in Chicago, up from 28 percent in 2008.
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The proof is in the ratings.
Games on Comcast SportsNet throughout the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season were 73 percent higher than CSN's previous hockey ratings, which held a record average of 3.11. Women's rating in the 18-34 and 21-34 age categories rose by a whopping 102 percent.
This isn't just because the NHL lost half its season, and it's not just because of the Blackhawks' record-breaking start (although that didn't hurt). The last few years, Blackhawks fans have developed a deeper attachment with the team thanks to events such as the annual Blackhawks Convention, local television and radio appearances, as well as various fan promotions the team holds throughout the season.
Longtime fan Rebecca Wilson has witnessed the transformation the Blackhawks made throughout the years and appreciates the efforts the organization is making.
"One of the great things about Blackhawks fans is we're all like a giant family," Wilson told CSNChicago.com during the Blackhawks' preseason. "The way the organization provides different activities for fans around the area, they really make you feel like you're a part of their family too. It makes a big difference."
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Fellow lifelong fan Amy Shipp agreed.
"The players are awesome," she said. "I went to signings and they're really nice to the fans. They don't treat us any differently."
The team's approach is simple: By interacting and establishing relationships with the fans, the Blackhawks family will continue to grow.
So far, it's working.