Just as he had done at the Cubs, McDonough established an unwavering commitment to winning, coming up with the slogan “One Goal.” He fired coach Denis Savard, a popular Blackhawk great, and replaced him with Joel Quenneville. Wirtz backed up the new coach by spending big money for good players.
The team’s fan base had dwindled to only a few thousand per game. But recently the Hawks celebrated their 100th consecutive sellout, thanks to successful marketing innovations carried over from the Cubs, such as “Blackhawk Conventions” which brought fans and players together. They hired Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito as goodwill ambassadors, just as they had done with Ernie Banks at the Cubs.
Then of course, there’s that catchy song called “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis that’s played after every Blackhawks goal. The fans love it, just as Cubs fans love “Go Cubs Go” by Steve Goodman, which can be heard after every Cubs victory at Wrigley Field.
Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant, described the Blackhawks to Forbes.com as “arguably the most remarkable turnaround in the history of sports in the United States.”
Nothing short of a miracle.
Dave Berg is a writer-producer. Until recently he was a co-producer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Dave worked with Jay since he became the host of the show in May 1992. He has served as a writer-producer for NBC News, a reporter and executive producer for various news organizations and has written for such publications as Reader’s Digest, National Review, The Washington Times and Crisis magazine.