Blackhawks fever hits DeKalb County

You can see it just about everywhere you go. The American Indian profile is on T-shirts, hats and even car windows. It is, of course, the logo of the Chicago Blackhawks, who are battling the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup championship. Blackhawwks fever has definitely hit DeKalb County.

“The last three hours that’s all we’ve sold,” Rick Rossman, co-manager of MC Sports in DeKalb, said on the afternoon of June 11. That night, the Hawks defeated Boston in game one of the best-of-seven series.

Most of the demand is for shirts, Rossman said.

“The Hawks do really well. Some teams don’t. It’s going to be nuts if they win the Stanley Cup. We’ll be crazy busy.”

Many people who don’t normally follow the team have jumped on the bandwagon, which is fine with die-hard fans like Sean Gulzar.

“It’s always been that way when a team wins,” he said. “That’s just how it is.”

Sporting a bright red Blackhawks T-shirt he said he changes into a Jonathan Toews jersey to watch games.

“I think the farther they go, the more people want to get involved,” Amanda Matlock, a bartender at MVP Sports Club in Sycamore, said. “It’s more exciting. There’s more at stake.”

Matlock, who worked the night the Hawks advanced to the finals, said she could tell what was happening even though she couldn’t watch: “We heard big cheers every time they scored.”

Jessica Odom of Fatty’s Pub & Grille in DeKalb said the bar breaks out into the team’s theme song after every goal. It also gives away a jersey and offers special drinks on game nights.

“Hockey fans get pretty rowdy,” she laughed.

The website of DeKalb restaurant Tapa La Luna says that due to “dedication” to the Hawks, Boston-based Sam Adams beer “will not be available until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup finals.”

Despite the enthusiasm, long-time fan Ryan Dillon of Creston doesn’t think this year quite compares to 2010, when the Hawks won their first Stanley Cup since 1961. Nevertheless, if they win, he said he’ll go to the championship parade in Chicago.

“I went three years ago and it was nuts,” he said. “There was no control. It was just insane.”

Although she said she “wasn’t invited” last time, his girlfriend, Stephanie Graff, plans to go with him this time. “I think it’s pretty cool,” she said.

One person who won’t make it is Rossman. He said he’ll be too busy selling more Blackhawk shirts.

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