Blackhawks Game 6 win in Philly would be sweet

June 8, 2010 6:00:13 AM PDT
Wednesday night could be a big night for the Blackhawks and their fans. With a win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the 'hawks would take their first championship since 1961.

The game is in Philadelphia, where fans have a very dubious reputation. ABC 7's Sarah Schulte talked with Hawks owner Rocky Wirtz about the Philly faithful.

Rocky Wirtz isn't shy about his feelings towards bad Philly fans. At last week's games, he witnessed first hand how mean the fans can be. Some Blackhawks fans say winning in Philly in front of a stadium full of orange would be there best revenge.

Hawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz is trying to play it cool two days before a game that could give the Blackhawks owner the Stanley Cup, but Game 6 means returning to Philadelphia, a city where its fans are not exactly sure what "Brotherly Love" means.

Philly fans have always had a reputation for being mean to the opposing team. Wirtz says, after experiencing two games in Philadelphia last week, that reputation is well deserved.

"If you had a jersey on going to men's room, you probably would not want to go alone," said Blackhawks fan Jim Linos.

Wirtz says he knows several Blackhawks fans that would rather skip the game in Philly and watch from Chicago as the Hawks clinch the cup on visitors' ice.

So why are the Philly fans so mean?

"They are passionate. They grow up that way, loving their team and hating opponents," sad Casey Burdsall, Flyers fan.

A South Jersey native living in Chicago, Burdsall founded the Philadelphia Sports Group of Chicago. She and about 200 Flyers fans will gather at a North Side bar on Wednesday to watch the game. Burdsall says in Chicago she is not afraid to wear her Flyers jersey.

"I wear it down the street-- I might get a thumbs down or a go Hawks, and I say, 'That's all you got?' " said Burdsall.

Wirtz says the type of behavior he witnessed at the Wachovia Center would not be tolerated at United Center. although, he admits, some Hawks fans have had their moments as well.

Meanwhile, Blackhawks supporters are hoping for a win on Wednesday night. Jim Rzonca is a super fan. He transformed his basement in his Lemont home into an ode to 'hawks history. He converted a vintage, table top hockey game into a replica of the Chicago stadium, detailed right down to the advertisement along the side of the rink. There's even a scoreboard surrounded by posters, pictures, magazines, programs and autographs from the players. Rzonca says his love for the game began as a child in the 60s.

"It all started as a kid my father took me and my brother to our first game it was against the Montreal Canadiens," said Rzonca.

Rzonca says the 'hawks will be champs in two days. He'll be watching the game from his home. That may be a good thing because this is the welcome crew in the city of brotherly love.

Blackhawks 1 win from Stanley Cup

The Blackhawks are on the brink of a championship, one win away from the Stanley Cup after wiping out the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night.

The Hawks exploded for seven goals in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday. Bulls great Michael Jordan was at the United Center wearing his Hawks sweater.

The game was scoreless until 12 minutes into the first period when Brent Seabrook scored. It was 3-1 in the second period when Andrew Ladd found Patrick Kane streaking toward the goal. Kane scored to make it 4-1. Byfuglien added two more goals, and the Hawks won 7-3. They lead the series 3-2. Game 6 in Philadelphia is Wednesday.

With the Hawks just one win away from their first championship since 1961, fans were hoping they will raise the cup in Philadelphia instead of returning home to Chicago for Game 7 on Friday.

Long-time Blackhawks follower Bill Glegoroff said the Hawks need to nail the win Wednesday. The last time they won the Stanley Cup 49 years ago, he was 1.

"I was born a Blackhawk fan, and I was 1-year-old when they won the last Stanley Cup, and I remember in 1971, when they were in the Cup, and I also was at all the games when they got swept by Pittsburgh. So this is a long time coming," said Glegoroff.

Fans say the Hawks performance Sunday, including pushing around Flyers' key palyer Chris Pronger, shows what the Chicago team is made of.

"They're going to do it Wednesday night. And they're going to do the same thing to Pronger again. So that's what's going to happen Wednesday night. And the fans out there will be put in their place," said fan Ed Fisher.

Fans can get a round-trip ticket for about $400 or $450 to Philadelphia Wednesday. But for those who stay home, Blackhawks officials say there will be an official viewing party at Joe's on Weed St.

Fans celebrate as Blackhawks win Game 5

Those who witnessed the victory from inside the United Center Sunday were the fortunate ones. Others competed for good seats at bars.

Jason Walsh arrived at a bar to watch the Sunday night game four hours early.

"Three o'clock," Walsh said. "So, I could sit here at this table."

After the team dropped two games in Philadelphia, Blackhawks fans were hoping the home crowd could help put the Hawks back on the winning track.

"It has a lot to do with home-field advantage. Home ice means a lot," said fan Odell Woods.

"[If] you got kids that play hockey, so much enthusiasm for the game. I can feel it. It is time," fan Jane Filek said.

From the beginning, the United Center magic seemed to be working as the Hawks jumped out to a big lead and held on for a huge win.

"It is the first time they played this well in a couple of weeks. This is great. Very exciting," said Greg Shearson, fan.

Chicago's own basketball legend Michael Jordan attended Sunday's Blackhawks game. Some suspect his good karma might have rubbed off on the team.

Blackhawks fans say they hope the Stanley Cup is coming to Chicago and it may not come to a Game 7.


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