2013 Blackhawks Convention day 1 recap

hawks_convention_logoThis past weekend, I attended the 6th Annual Chicago Blackhawks Convention. The convention is an opportunity for fans to get autographs from the players, attend panel discussions with players and coaches, buy hockey memorabilia, see all the NHL trophies — including the Stanley Cup — and engage in other activities.

Although every year I tell myself that I am going to focus more on attending the panels, I usually spend most of the show getting autographs. And this year, I got autographs from many current and retired players.

The Blackhawks Convention instituted a wristband policy during their third convention, held in 2010. Around one to two hours before a certain current or former player is signing autographs, fans will line up to get a colored wristband. Usually, they are limited to 315 — sometimes more, sometimes less. Getting a wristband guarantees you one autograph from that player so long as you show up at the appropriate time.

However, once you get a wristband, you cannot get another one until the first one is removed. So, if you got a wristband to get Brandon Bolig’s autograph later on, you cannot get Darren Pang’s autograph in the meantime. This keeps it fair so that everyone has a shot at getting autographs.

wristband

For many of the current players — as well as the retired greats —  the process was different. Each fan is given a “scratch and win” game card, which if a winner gets you an autograph from a random current star or retired great. The kicker is, you don’t know who is signing until about five minutes before the player shows up. A lot of fans were disappointed because they didn’t have a shot at getting something signed by guys like Patrick Sharp, Corey Crawford or Jonathan Toews.

I, on the other hand, try not to focus on whose autographs I can’t get, and just be happy about what I can get. Here’s a rundown of the autographs I got on Friday.

Friday, July 26, 2013
Not too many players were signing autographs on Friday, as the first few hours of the show is the “Opening Ceremony,” where all the current and former players are introduced. But I managed to get two things signed that day.

pirri_card_1Brandon Pirri autographed his 2012-13 Rockford IceHogs team card for me. He turned to the “handler” seated next to him (the person who watches and makes sure that no one asks for multiple autographs or photos), and commented on how much he liked the team set because of the vintage look. I told Pirri that the design is based on the 1974-75 Topps set, but I don’t think he really “knows” hockey cards. (FYI, look for a review of this set coming later this week).

rozival_8x10Meanwhile, my girlfriend Shellie got this 8″ x 10″ photo signed by defenseman Michal Rozsival, who seemed to be having as much fun signing autographs as the fans who were getting autographs.

Rozival_small
Michal Rozsival, defenseman on the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks.

What Rozsival lacks in hair he more than makes up for with his smile.

There wasn’t much else to do at this point, so we headed home and get a good night’s rest for Saturday. One of my goals for Saturday was to start my book project…

front_coverAutograph Count for Day 1:

  • 1 hockey card
  • 1 photo
  • Total autographs for Friday: 2 items
  • Total for the weekend so far: 2 items

Continue on to the 2013 Blackhawks Convention Day 2 recap.

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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