Chicago, IL – Aug. 1, 2010
On the third day of the convention, I pretty much spent the whole time waiting in lines to get autographs.
In retrospect, I regret not going to more panel discussions.
But at the time, I was excited because I had those VIP signing session passes, which entitled me to get autographs from the best ‘Hawks players.
So, that’s how Sunday went. I waited in line, again and again and again.
I also made a few purchases, and my girlfriend interviewed several artists at the convention.
Autograph: Glenn Hall
Upon our arrival, I made a beeline to the VIP section. This autograph opportunity was for Mr. Goalie himself, Glenn Hall.
Like all of the former players, Hall was very friendly, even thanking the fans for “having him” at the Blackhawks Convention. I was unable to locate a photo of Hall for sale. Since Hall had not been at any prior Blackhawks Conventions, dealers didn’t really bring a whole lot of Glenn Hall memorabilia. So, I opted to get this Tall Boy card signed.
Autograph: Bryan Bickell
Meanwhile, my girlfriend got into line for Brian Bickell‘s autograph. She got this 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee card signed for me. What a girlfriend!
Autograph: Steve Larmer
After that, she got into line to get this Fleer Greats of the Game card signed by Steve Larmer.
Autograph: Tony Esposito
The second VIP signing session I went to was for Tony Esposito. However, this autograph I got for my dealer friend. Remember, she’s the one who gave me the winning game cards to get the VIP signing sessions. She really wanted Tony-O’s signature, and I was all too happy to comply. I even waited in line for her (she really couldn’t leave her table).
I got a stick blade signed by Esposito, but I forgot to snap a photo of it before giving it back to my dealer friend.
Esposito is very outgoing and polite. Right away, he wanted to shake my hand, ask me my name and thank me for coming out to the convention. Tony-O was also dressed to the nines, wearing a nice suit, silk tie and even a pocket square (handkerchief, that is).
I complimented Esposito on his manner of dress, pointing out that he was all dressed up while I was merely wearing jeans and a button-down shirt.
“No, no–you’re fine,” Esposito explained. “You’re here to have fun. I’m here to work.”
Autographs: Grant Mulvey & Murray Bannerman
This year, ‘Hawks Con had a few autograph lines that were for two players instead of one. Grant Mulvey and Murray Bannerman was one such line. My girlfriend and I each got “banded” to get their autographs.
My GF got this 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee card signed by Grant Mulvey…
…and I got this 1979-80 Topps card signed.
My GF got this 2004-05 In The Game Franchises card signed for me by Murray Bannerman.
Upon seeing the card, he exclaimed “Uh, oh–glossy card,” and then proceeded to rub it with his thumb several times to dull the gloss to make the ink “stick” better.
Of course, I rubbed the card down with a white art eraser ahead of time to minimize the gloss, but it’s cool to see that a player knows how to deal with a problematic card.
I got this card signed too. Interesting story, a fellow ‘Hawk fan was about to buy this card from a dealer, but I asked him if he’d let me buy it. It’s the only Bannerman card that I don’t have. The guy handed it to me, so now I have every card issued during Bannerman’s career signed.
Autograph: Patrick Sharp
The third and final VIP signing session of the day was with ‘Hawks winger Patrick Sharp.
Remembering my conversation with Brent Seabrook yesterday, I did not ask Sharp to sign the photo in any particular place. However, he signed on the Stanley Cup, and added his number 10.
I thanked Sharp, who said nothing. I think the new players were instructed to NOT talk with the fans while signing autographs–at least the VIPs like Sharp and Seabrook. Either that, or they are full of themselves because the Blackhawks are now the toast of the town.
The whole setup for Sharp was like an assembly line, where an assistant took my item (and Blue Sharpie marker) and handed them to Sharp. This actually made the process a lot quicker…but also a lot more impersonal.
With all of the signed photos I got over the weekend, I am going to have to change up the photos on my wall at home. This one definitely has to go up.
Autographs: Ab McDonald & Eric Nesterenko
Ab McDonald and Eric Nesterenko were supposed to sign on Saturday, but one of them couldn’t make it. So, both players were there on Sunday instead. I was not planning on trying to get their autographs, but the opportunity came up so I went for it.
The only Ab McDonald card I had with me was from the ’69-70 Topps set, and showed McDonald with the Penguins. The guy ahead of me in line had a Tall Boys card, but was in awe of my Topps card. I asked if he wanted to trade, and he gladly did.
Though I didn’t have a Tall Boy card of Eric Nesterenko with me, I did have his “Missing Link” card.
Nesterenko has a very nice signature.
“Wow, it’s like you signed a check,” I stated, admiring Nesterenko’s neat penmanship.
“You can read it, right?” Nesterenko asked.
“Oh yeah,” I replied. “Very nice looking.”
The older players try to sign very nice, and even take pride in their signature.
Autograph: Pierre Pilote
The last autograph of the day was from Pierre Pilote. While I was waiting for Nesterenko and McDonald, my girlfriend had gotten a wristband for Pilote’s autograph. And what an autograph! Pilote added his now-retired number, 3, and HOF 75.
I really did not buy much at the 2010 ‘Hawks Con.
I purchased the 8″ x 10″ photos of Sharp and Seabrook to get signed. I bought a few other random 8″ x 10″ photos of current players.
For $6, I purchased this signed 8″ x 10″ photo of former ‘Hawk Cam Barker.
I bought these two “Action Player Patches” from the early 1990s.
I love weird, random junk from the 1990s like these patches. In fact, if anyone has patches like these (in package our out) to sell or trade, let me know.
I also picked up two 1964-65 Topps Tall Boyscards…
Blackhawks players Al MacNeil…
…and Doug Mohns. These are not in the greatest shape, but I didn’t break the bank on them either, paying less than $10 each.
Video: Art of Hockey
During the weekend, my girlfriend interviewed 3 artists at the ‘Hawks Con. Tony Santiago and Gordon France create illustrations of Blackhawks players. Anthony Regole creates furniture out of broken hockey sticks. The video is under 3 minutes long.
(the video is no longer available)
I will admit, I had a better time than I initially thought I would.
The wristband policy, though a bit convoluted, actually worked well. If you got the wristband, and got in line during the allotted time, then you were guaranteed an autograph by that player. No more getting into a long line and hoping that you’d get to the front of the line before the player had to go.
No, it wasn’t perfect, but it worked OK.
One thing that the Blackhawks did this year was have a few tables had TWO players signing. That makes sense. If you are going to wait for a Murray Bannerman autograph, chances are you’d also want something signed by Grant Mulvey. The line didn’t really move any slower than usual if it was for two players instead of one.
I think all lines should be for two players from now on.
Of course, my viewpoint is a little skewed because my dealer friend gave me 2 VIP passes, and the Hotel Only signing pass, which entitled me to 3 “hard-to-get” autographs (Hall, Sharp and Seabrook). I probably wouldn’t feel as positive if I didn’t get any of the VIP autographs.
I wish more people were selling stuff at the show. More cards and jerseys, less un-related vendors like the Marines or insurance companies.
The venue needs to be bigger. Or they need to cut back the number of tickets sold–even if they raise the ticket price so that the Blackhawks “make” the same amount of money on the convention.
I will probably go to the ‘Hawks Con next year, but I’m going to try to not be so obsessed with autographs, and instead go to more panels. Many times, hearing what a player has to say makes a greater impression than a scribble of ink.