Due to a slower-than-usual CTA train, Shellie and I did not arrive at the Blackhawks Convention on Sunday until 9:45 am. The first thing we did was head for the autograph room. I was hoping to get Dustin Byfuglien’s autograph, but he did not show up at his scheduled 9:00 am time. I guess Big Buff and the boys had a hell of a time the night before, as seemed to be the popular story/guess.
At that time, getting an autograph from Hall of Fame player Stan Mikita was the furthest thing from my mind, but Shellie insisted that we try. Mikitia was not signing until 11:15 am, so she got in the “Mikita Line” while I went and waited in the line to get Martin Havlat‘s autograph. A half-hour later, I got my 2006-07 Blackhawks team-issued card of Havlat signed in blue Sharpie Marker. One autograph, and it’s only 10:15.
Jim Pappin was signing at the “Alumni Stage” before Mikita came out, so I went to get his autograph too, while Shellie continued to wait in the Mikita line. I’d like to point out that she pretty much knitted the whole time she waited in line on Saturday and Sunday, and ended up finishing two pairs of wool socks! Anyway, I successfully got Pappin’s autograph on a hockey card. I went back by Shellie and held our place in the “Mikita Line” while she went ahead and also got a hockey card signed by Pappin. 11 am, and that ups my autograph count to three!
Stan Mikita signed autographs on the third day of the Blackhawks Convention.
Stan Mikita came out around 11:10 am to an eruption of cheers and applause. He was scheduled to sign until 12:30 pm. The next guest after him at the Alumni Stage was supposed to be Denis Cyr…but he never showed up. I don’t think most people minded (though I also wanted Cyr’s autograph), as this allowed Mikita more time to sign, which he did. I’m thankful too, since at 12:30 pm we were still about 30 people away from getting autographs from this Hall of Fame player. Shellie and I each got a 1964-65 Parkhurst Tall Boy card signed by Mr. Mikita, who graciously ended up signing for an hour more than he was supposed to. It’s now 1 pm and I have five more autographs for my collection.
I went and waited in line to get Adam Burish‘s autograph. The line was long, and there was “no guarantee of an autograph”, as a convention worker warned me. But I knew Burish would not disappoint the fans. Burish is a fan favorite because he works hard–not because he’s a goal scorer. We supported Burish all year long, so of course he was going to stay and sign for every fan. Or so I hoped.
While I waited in line for Burish, Shellie went down to another line for Cam Barker‘s autograph, and got two cards signed for me, bringing my total up to seven autographs for today.
We continued to wait in line for Burish. I pretty much spent the whole time talking with these two high school kids who really knew a lot about hockey from the 1990s. One of them was just waiting in line to keep his friend company, but did not have anything for Burish to sign. Luckily, I had an extra Burish card that I was able to give him. I always bring extra cards when I go to signings, so as to share with others. We all want an autograph or two…and it sucks when you’ve got nothing to get signed. So I was glad that I could pass along a duplicate card to someone who would have something cool for his collection.
But enough patting myself on the back. Shellie got a 2006-07 Upper Deck Young Guns card of Burish signed for me, while I got an autograph on something different. The night before, I printed out two photos of Burish from his Friday night performance with Second City. I told him that I study improv, and complimented him on how funny he was (really, Burish said some funny stuff). I also gave him a copy of the photo, which he thanked me for. Kind of a “fanboy” thing to do…but I took a damn good picture, don’t you think.
For Sunday, my autograph count was up to nine. Not bad for four hours of work…and not to mention that two of them are from Stan Mikita!
With only a half an hour left, I had just a little bit of time to do some “panic buying”. That’s when I go from table to table and try to make some last-minute purchases. About half of the vendors had already packed up and left, while the rest were slowly getting their wares back into boxes. However, I was able to make two final purchases:
— Three 3-inch hockey card binders and one 3-inch football card binder – $24
— Fifteen 8″ x 10″ full-color hockey photographs – $2 each for a total of $30
There are many more things I would have liked to buy, but like I said most of the dealers had split. But really, this wasn’t all about buying stuff. Really.
Damn, I had a good–no great!–time. I wish I had spent a little less time waiting in lines for autographs, because those panel discussions were a lot of fun. That Second City improv performance was awesome–I’m so glad I did not miss that. The panel discussion with Larmer, Noonan, Konroyd and Foley was truly memorable for a fan like me who was obsessed with the ‘Hawks back then.
This mural was painted over the course of the weekend by Dave Arrigo.
Then again, I’m psyched that I got all the autographs that I did–31 overall. I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of almost every cool panel discussion there was.
As for the things I bought, much of it was stuff that wasn’t hard to find. Believe it or not, I’m jazzed about all those old photos I bought.
This show was a ton of fun. I’m already looking forward to next year’s show.