New fans spark revival for Blackhawks

March 3, 2010 4:50:48 PM PST
Young, talented players and new fans have sparked a big revival for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Olympics and the Blackhawks' stellar season have made getting on the ice a must do at Johnny's Icehouse in Chicago.

It is perhaps a generational reconnection.

"I think once you start hockey, especially women, you start to feel the adrenaline rush, you start to see the positive effects. It's a great workout," said Veronica Murillo, head, Chicago Police Department Pistols female hockey team.

With the Blackhawks atop most people's list of contenders for the Stanley Cup, there's a lot of goodwill for the team and the sport, especially in this post Olympic haze. That means there's opportunity.

"Our hallmark has been accessibility and making sure the players are in the community, making sure that they're doing every media interview because when people meet Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane or some of these other stars that we have, they like what they see," said Jay Blunk, Blackhawks business operations senior VP.

After an outdoor game at last year's hawk run to NHL's conference finals, there is reason for some to think that hockey is back in Chicago like never before.

"The last time there was something similar to this was in 1980. That's what got me started in hockey. And I believe that same wave of the U.S. doing so well and so many new teams in the league is going to start the interest into hockey right," said Stu Munoz, Chicago Masters hockey league.