Every year we take you through the Convention schedule to give you the real low-down on what you’re in for if you’re headed downtown this weekend. For reasons we’ll never understand, but people do feel the need to be surrounded by sweaty people in Hawks jerseys in the middle of July. Also, it’s going to be stupid steam-bath hot this weekend, making it even more fun. The combination of Convention goers and Cardinals fans downtown… WOOF.
5pm: Opening Ceremonies
Basically an excuse to defrost Jim Cornielson from whatever freezer they keep him in during the summer so he can for some strange reason sing the national anthem. Seriously, how many conventions do they sing the anthem at? I really don’t know, I’ve never been to a convention. I went to a ComiCon (ComicCon?) in Rosemont when I was a kid once. That’s it.
Then the players will be introduced and will come and give that awkward five from the stage, and in no way will be ogling a portion of the audience. They’ll also be in their jerseys, because we can’t recognize them without them. You’ll also get to see how awful the new collar on the new jerseys look in real life. Which won’t stop three-quarters of the fanbase running out to get one.
8pm: Second City
One is a corrupt, terrible organization that basically is a drain on society to take your money. The other is the Hawks. Come watch a bunch of people whose only real skill is paying Second City enough to move up through the classes to get on the mainstage and have learned how to be funny to tourists from Iowa. They’ll be engaging in improv, by far the lowest form of theater, just behind miming. And they’ll do it with hockey players who most certainly would rather be at the bar.
9am: Behind The Bench
Joel Quenneville will sit awkwardly up there with the new assistants he didn’t want to hire, all the while reading the letters Mike Kitchen has been sending him daily. All of them basically say, “I Heart You.”
9:15: Behind The Scenes Of “On The Clock”
Al MacIsaac, Norm MacIver, and Mike Doneghey refuse to take responsibility for whichever personnel move they fucked up over the years, while talking about a documentary about a process when they drafted players you never heard of.
10:30: Blackhawks Leadership
Let me just quote their actual release: “Over the last decade, the Chicago Blackhawks have strived to become not just a model franchise in the National Hockey League but in all of professional sports. Join radio play-by-play man John Wiedeman for a discussion with Chairman Rocky Wirtz and President & CEO John McDonough as they discuss what it takes to lead an Original Six franchise. ”
10:45: Two-Way Forwards
Troy Murray, Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and…TANNER KERO?! Oh good lord, who’s ready for this experience? Tanner Kero…he’s going to be the next Laurie Boschman, people.
12pm: Kids Only Press Conference
Apparently you can ask Tommy Hawk questions if you’re a child. Which is weird, because he can’t talk. It’s always good optics to have kids talking to Patrick Kane, I think.
12:15: Blackhawks Family Feud
Look Lisa, you can actually pinpoint the exact moment when Toews questions why the hell he bothered to show up this year!
1:45: Hockey Development
Stan Bowman, Yanic Perrault, and Anders Sorensen discuss the process of developing players through the system, just as soon as they remember who any of them are. Then that player gets traded away for cap space.
1:45: Best Friends Box
This is some game show thing hosted by Adam Burish, who will be fulfilling his destiny as a game show host. Seriously, it’s what he’s been meant to do his whole life, if I had full confidence he can competently read a cue card. Which I don’t.
3:15: Sweet Home Chicago
Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad discuss coming back to the Hawks, following in the glorious footsteps of Kris Versteeg, Johnny Oduya, Andrew Ladd, Brain Campbell…ah shit.
3:30pm: Live Taping Of The Beat
Apparently this is a show on WGN. You didn’t know this because you’re under the age of 77 and thus don’t listen to WGN for anything other than Hawks games.
4:45: Growing The Game
Several Illinois-born Hawks and members of the organization discuss the Hawks’ outreach in growing the game locally. Strangely, this panel will also include Fifth Feather to showcase the proper way to berate a ref at Johnny’s at 11:15pm on a Tuesday. That’s before his girlfriend sends you a picture of him breaking his wrist (this actually happened once).
6:30pm: Blackhawks Game Show
More Second City bullshit. Seriously, fucking burn that place down. Oh wait, someone tried to. Goddammit, it can’t be killed.
9:15: The Old Barn
Why is Greg Gilbert on this? Why is Greg Gilbert? I went hoarse screaming at him from the standing room and I was nine!
Seriously, instead of listening to human shit stain Bobby Hull try and put a sentence together without falling over, if you want to know what it was like in the Old Stadium, read my book. Yeah it’s shameless self-promotion, but if you don’t mind me saying so, I fucking nailed what it was like in there. Thank you for your time.
10am: Road to The NHL: Rockford
Holy shit Tanner Kero gets a second panel! Also the new Hogs coaches will be there, and we can assume they won’t actively be trying to get themselves fired like Ted Dent was. Pay attention as grown men try and convince you they’re excited to live and work in Rockford. It’s a real treat.
10:45am: College Hockey
Burish strikes again, which wouldn’t exactly be the greatest ad for using college hockey to develop. He’ll be there along with Hayden, Schmaltz, Hinostroza to talk about the college hockey experience. It will be constantly interrupted by Olczyk running in to remind us his kid was captain of the Penn State team. Did you know that? Bet you didn’t, and if you think you did you didn’t and Eddie will remind you.