The fall and rise of the Chicago Blackhawks, is the most dramatic in North American sports. From drawing barely 3,000 people per game to three Stanley Cups, the turnaround was simply whiplash. Fans who have been through it all can hardly believe the ride, and no one was a better example of this than Sam Fels. A die-hard fan as a child, disconnected as the organization collapsed in on itself, and then pulled back in by their resurgence, Fels became something of a voice for it all through his blog (SecondCityHockey.com, TheCommittedIndian.com, FaxesFromUncleDale.com) and the independent, gameday program he wrote and sold outside the United Center every game between 2008 and 2016. There was no better seat for the transformation of the franchise than his post outside Gate 3. He documented every game, taking the ride with every other fan and welcoming all the new ones along the way, while trying to come to grips with this new hockey world and all the challenges life was throwing at him away from the United Center. But this is the story of every Hawks, and hockey fan riding the fortunes of their teams through the fortunes of their own lives. How we use our fandom to cope, to celebrate, to commiserate. And to drink. How the different phases of our life fit differently with our continued fandom, and vice versa. How we all grow up and yet hang on to something of our childhood. And how our fandom colors the biggest moments of our lives and change the way we see things outside of the arena. How being a fan keeps us company when we're low, adds to our highs, and continually fills us with anger and dread in between. Won't you take a ride?
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About the Author
Sam Fels has spent the past nine years covering the Blackhawks on various blogs and platforms. From his own blogs-- SecondCityHockey.com, TheCommittedIndian.com, and FaxesFromUncleDale.com--and NBC Chicago, he has had a prime seat for the rise of the organization. He also wrote a gameday program for every home game which he sold from his very cold spot outside Gate 3. He is a native Chicagoan, and still lives in the city with his dog/gremlin PJ.