Blackhawks fans brave storms to attend sold-out Stanley Cup Finals game

June 12, 2013 (CHICAGO)

ABC7's Ravi Baichwal watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals with fans on Wednesday night.

They started to enter the Madhouse two hours before the puck dropped due to the weather, but spirits were anything but dampened.

With lifetime memories set to be made, the Hawk faithful were confident.

Just east of the stadium, the watering holes were packed enough to feel as much a part of the action as those in the UC.

And as the game began, fans expressed confident predictions of success.

Blackhawks fan Bob Gertenrich attends 2,152nd game

One Hawks fan who will be in the stands Wednesday night hasn't missed a home game since 1966.

From the company of Bobbleheads to the real deal- Bob Gertenrich, 66, will head to the United Center to attend his 2,152nd game in person- a ritual he hasn't missed since 1966.

"The first season tickets I had, that's when they only had 6 teams and they played each other 14 times and they had big rivalries. The animosity was incredible," said Gertenrich.

While he can't skate, Gertenrich says he's fascinated by the spectacle he's watched from Section 333, Row 1, Seat 18.

"I just kept going. I loved the game. Even in the bad team days it was great hockey to see the players on the other team, all these hall of fame hockey players," said Gertenrich.

As he showed ABC7's Michelle Gallardo, some of his ticket stubs- just part of a Hawks memorabilia collection to rival any- the retired restaurant worker who never married, Gertenrich remembers going, even the night in 1991 his mother died.

"In that particular case it was a blessing. She had been sick and we had help here and all that. She hadn't been her normal self and I just wanted to keep going," said Gertenrich.

After 2000 straight games NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman phoned him. He says short of his brother dying he can't imagine what would cause him to break his streak. And he has a prediction.

"I think the Blackhawks will win in 6 games. I don't want them to go to Game 7. It's too nerve wracking and besides that's my birthday. And it's either going to be a great birthday or a downer," said Gertenrich.

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