5 things to know about the Chicago Blackhawks’ home opener


With all the roster turnover this offseason, the Chicago Blackhawks have several players experiencing their first home opener in a Hawks jersey Friday against the Detroit Red Wings — but that doesn’t mean they won’t. unfamiliar with the experience of the United Center.

Take Jason Dickinson, for example.

Dickinson played his first game for the Hawks on Saturday in San Jose, Calif., but his past visits as a member of the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks left an impression.

“The first time I played here nobody told me about the anthem,” he said. “And it surprised me a bit at first, but every time it’s electric.

“It’s one of my favorite experiences, the pre-game. Even as a visiting player, it gets your blood pumping and exciting. I’m super excited to be on this side.

The same was true for Andreas Athanasiou. Even though he’s already been the enemy as Red Wing for nearly five seasons, he enjoyed the lore, especially Jim Cornelison singing the national anthem.

“My first exhibition game, I remember once they started playing during that anthem, it kinda gives me chills and makes you pretty excited,” he said.

Patrick Kane will be playing his 555th home game but it’s still “always exciting”.

Kane observes a tradition of tossing a puck into the stands at the end of warm-ups.

“I think the new season and playing in front of the crowd, like the whole crowd, for the first time is exciting for a game that means something,” Kane said. “Just everything that goes with player introductions, being there during warm-ups, playing your first game at home, it’s a good feeling.”

CEO Danny Wirtz put it simply: “It’s Friday night against Detroit, isn’t it? You can’t beat that.

Here are five changes to know about the United Center this season.

President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner didn’t want to spoil, but she teased a few additions to the pre-game show (fans are suggested to be in their seats at 7:25 p.m.).

“We’re improving and improving what I’ll call the show before the puck drop,” she said. “So once you’re in your seat and the lights go out, we’re going to add a few things to what they’ll see before the puck drops and we’re going to actually change that throughout the year, so it is different and new. It’s not the same show every time you come.

“And then once the game starts, we will have more music… (and) content that our fans will see in the game. We will definitely use player and puck tracking data. There are lots of fun ways to show how hard our players work on the ice.

Faulkner wouldn’t go into detail about what other new items will see, but said, “Our fans are used to sitting in the seat and watching a show on the video board. This year they will be able to see a combination of fun things happening in the arena incorporated into one amazing video.

The fantasy sports betting site has opened a two-story lounge space in the south side of the United Center atrium, accessible through the East Atrium.

The space features cinema-style seating, 1,300 square feet of LED screens, and a bar. It will be open three hours before the Hawks and Bulls games and one hour after.

It’s first-come, first-served for fans who have tickets to the game and families can bring kids – for now, as long as there are no bets. Lounge license applications are pending review by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Expect to see several “Dashery” stores at levels 200 and 300.

Like Marketplace 1800 at Level 100, created through a partnership with Amazon, fans can swipe with a credit card, grab the items they want, and walk away. Amazon’s technology will automatically charge the card if the items are taken out of the store.

Faulkner said it helps solve how to get food and drink for level 300 fans “very quickly”.

Chicago Blackhawks fans watch a game against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on Feb. 2, 2022.

The Bulls and Hawks are “very focused on creating a really great experience at the 300 level. And this is one of our first steps to getting there,” she said.

Locations are in sections 213 and 230 and near the escalators and stairwells on the 100 and 300 levels.

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The Hawks and Goose Island have teamed up to create Blackhawks Pale Ale.

The United Center and Levy restaurants typically revamp the menu each season, and this season’s chef has crafted some new FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge-specific items.

The offerings include spicy pork nachos, a “FanDuel Burger” and a smoked bacon and gouda dip. A few popular items on the preview tour were the Wagyu Hot Dogs and the Old Fashioned Black Cherry Cocktail. . .

The Hawks want to welcome back more alumni, especially as several Stanley Cup-era players retire.

Doors open at 3 p.m. for a tailgating party in the atrium. Fans can line up on Madison Street to watch the alumni parade down a red carpet, and the first 3,000 spectators will receive rally towels.

“(Éric) Dazé is here,” Faulkner said. “(Adam) Burish will be there. (Andrew) Shaw will be there. We actually have Shaw lined up to bartender and see the fans, so he’s going to be very active.

“Some of them are going to walk the red carpet and be part of our red carpet show. Ed Belfour will be there. There are a number who are going to be back in the building that night.


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