McDonough: Convention 'humanizes' players

McDonough: Convention 'humanizes' players
July 21, 2014, 5:30 pm
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Nina Falcone

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane sat next to one another in front of thousands of fans at the seventh annual Blackhawks Convention on Saturday to discuss what it's like to be a Conn Smythe winner.

For a while they addressed questions from the moderator before things were turned over to the crowd.

One girl stood in line, got up to the microphone and asked both players for a rematch from the dance competition they had at the convention the year prior. Both players hesitated, but once the music started, they both got up and did their dance. 

It's moments like that, that make the convention weekend so different from most things found in professional sports.

"I think one of the missions of the Blackhawks Convention is to humanize these guys," Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough said. "Again, make them have a common man's touch to professional sports. If there is any innocence left in professional sports — and I'm not sure that there is — I truly believe that it's in hockey.

"For the most part, these guys come up and they're not wildly heralded, they're not coming from some Big Ten program where everybody knows about them, or they're not coming from a school where you hear a lot about them. They go to the minor leagues."

[HAWKS CONVENTION: Kane-Toews dance-off, Pt. II]

At the start of the weekend, the players talked about how impressed they are by the turnout year after year; this year over 10,000 tickets sold out in less than a day.

They were excited to be all together again in Chicago, and to give their fans a special weekend to thank them for all of their support. 

"I think [the players] were blown away with what they saw at the convention," McDonough said. "I think Blackhawks fans now feel they have something very special of their own."