Hawks fan hasn't missed home game in 44 years

June 2, 2010 (SKOKIE, Ill.)

He will not be in Philadelphia Wednesday night but to say he never misses a home game would be an understatement.

A sturdy black box holds his Blackhawks ticket stubs from the United Center. He also has an old shoe box stuffed with stadium stubs. Gertenrich has saved every single ticket stub since he became a season ticket holder in 1966 at age 20.

"I'd love to see them win a cup as quickly as possible, but losses be there Sunday night for the 2, 024th game in a row," said Gertenrich.

The 63-year-old fan hasn't a missed home game in 44 years but there have been some close calls. In 1991, Gertenrich's mother died early in the morning. After spending the day grieving and making funeral plans...

"I decided to go to the game, what would I do if I stayed home," said Gertenrich.

Gertenrich also went to game against doctor's wishes when he broke an arm and bad weather has threatened his trip from Skokie to the West Side several times.

"I went to a game where they had 521 people there, that's what they announced. There were less than that," said Gertenrich.

It's an understatement to say this fan lives and breathes the 'hawks. Gertenrich has several pictures with past greats, he was chosen to shoot the puck in the stadium and drop it in the United Center. His birds are named Tony and Puckee. But Gertenrich is most proud of a February message he saves on his answering machine from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman congratulating Gertenrich on attending 2,000 home games.

"You truly are a great fan and we really appreciate it," said Bettman.

Gertenrich says he will keep going to home games as along as he is able.

"A national hockey game is the best one of the major sports to watch live," said Gertenrich.

And there's nothing like watching the game live from Gertenrich's seats. They are right behind the glass.

Gertenrich just sent in his down payment for his 45th season. He owns three season tickets at $2,200 a piece compared to spending $92 in 1966. And on all those ticket stubs he saves, he writes the score on the back.

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