You Try Having the Worst Owner: A Defense of “Band Wagon” Fans

This is a post addressed to every NHL fan, joking or not. When you say the Blackhawks fans have only been around since 2009, you’re right. There’s been a massive increase in Blackhawks fans over the last 8 years. There are a couple of reasons for that.

Yeah, we’ve become successful. We have one of the best team cores in sports. Jonathon Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson are unreal players. There’s bound to be bandwagon fans with a team like that.

We have one of the best defensemen in the league AND the best defensive defenseman. We have one of the greatest defensive centers in the league, probably the best, as well as one of the best sheer playmakers. The team as currently assembled can be summed up to those six players.

But there’s another reason none of you take into account – William W. Wirtz, aka Dollar Bill. You see, Dollar Bill was one of the worst owners in sports, maybe ever. In a league that’s had a history of bad owners – Harold Ballard for one – Dollar Bill is quite possibly the worst.

He removed the Blackhawks from television. Wirtz did this for a select few season ticket holders who he thought would like that. What he didn’t realize is that they would have preferred he not, considering the fact that it dropped ticket prices. Wirtz parted with some of the best players and talent around the organization, including Pat Foley, a Hall of Fame broadcaster, and Jeremy Roenick, a hall of fame player.

If the Chicago Blackhawks history is that of the world, the Dollar Bill Wirtz era was the dark ages. We weren’t successful, we weren’t capable, and we didn’t have fans. It was incredibly hard to be fans, considering the fact that we couldn’t watch games except in the stadium. For reference, the United Center is just now getting a L-stop.

For a long time, college students were the only ones who went to Blackhawks games – ticket prices did drop, and they were the only ones to pick them up. And those that went only went occasionally – this was during a time when the White Sox won the World Series, the Cubs were okay, the Bears had a thunderous defense, and the Bulls were at least entertaining. The Blackhawks had none of these things.

So yes. There are some new fans since 2009. But you try going through an age where you couldn’t watch your team. Where you were voted the worst franchise in sports by Sports Illustrated. Where Wirtz wouldn’t let entertaining personalities stick around. It’s not Blackhawks fans fault that the year Rocky took over, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. We were coming back anyway. The Dynasty only helped.

Alright, rant over. I just keep seeing people calling Blackhawks fans “bandwagoners” and it’s not quite fair. You try losing the voice and face of your franchise because of your owner, and then not being able to watch the team either.

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