Publisher takes some credit for Hawks success

May 26, 2010 2:39:16 PM PDT
In the quest for the Stanley Cup, we thought we'd talk to one of the Blackhawks' biggest fans, Mark Weinberg, one of the publishers of a newspaper called Blue Line.

ABC 7's Jim Rose is here to tell us about this love-hate relationship.

For over 40 years, Weinberg has been a Blackhawks fan, and during the lean years of the 90s, he and a friend of his, Mark Finch, wrote, published and sold a newspaper called the Blue Line, outside of both the Chicago Stadium and the United Center. This was a venture that infuriated Blackhawk owner Bill Wirtz, his front office staff and the players.

Weinberg and Finch, both lawyers, began by using a restaurant's office equipment to publish their first edition of the Blue Line. In time, they made enough money off their $1 publication to buy their own equipment, and off they went.

"We always thought there should be adult programs at sporting events. We still think there should be adult programs at sporting events. We went to the Blackhawks PR department and spoke to Jim DeMaria, and he told us to get lost, that the Blackhawks sold more official programs than any team in the league," said Weinberg.

And one reason why the Hawks told the duo to get lost was because the Blue Line wrote funny, yet scathing, articles about the then-owner of the Hawks, Bill Wirtz.

"We made what some people would call vicious fun of Bill Wirtz, but what we would call fair and even-handed fun of Bill Wirtz-- criticism of him. We told it like it is, and presented Bill Wirtz as a tyrannical, greedy, incompetent owner of the Blackhawks, and the Blackhawks did not take kindly to that, and so they did everything they could to make life difficult for us," said Weinberg.

Weinberg claims the Blackhawks had the police harass him while he was outside the stadium selling Blue Line and his book on Wirtz. Weinberg sued the police department twice and won awards totaling $60,000. But, now he has put all that aside and continues to cheer for the Hawks, hoping they win the Stanley Cup.

Weinberg also takes some credit for their turnaround.

"We want to be fair and give Kane and Toews some credit, but we also think we were partly responsible for the team's turnaround. After all, we were doing it since 1991. At that point, they couldn't even tie their own skates," said Weinberg.

Weinberg and Finch have since parted ways, and Weinberg says that in today's winning climate, the Blue Line wouldn't have a chance.

As for Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough, Weinberg says they are doing a great job, because their first order of business was getting the home games on TV and paying big money for the best players.


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