Any fan of NHL hockey would be more than willing to list off their favorite arenas to see a game. In that list, whether a Chicago Blackhawks fan or not, the United Center usually tops it. Naturally it takes a mere 10-15 minutes for any fan to fall in love with the atmosphere. When entering the stadium there is already excitement in the air and by the time you take your seat, the yelling and screaming ramp up in anticipation for what may be the single, best tradition in all of sports… the National Anthem.
This isn’t any anthem. This is the National Anthem sung at the United Center. Where 22,000 plus fans are cheering and screaming. These same fans would have been standing in near-silence if the Canadian anthem played previously. It is unique, breath-taking, and emotional within only a few seconds. Would it really matter in the end who is singing on the ice? Probably not, seeing as the crowd is what takes a usually quiet tribute to our nation and drowns out any lyric of the song itself.
What comes of it you may ask? How about one of the most momentum boosts for any home team? If it enables goosebumps of thousands, imagine what it does for the home team standing on their blue line listening to it. During the season the Hawks scored 91 goals in the first period, more than both the second and the third period. Not only that, but it also enabled the Hawks to grab the lead over 71% of the time by the end of the first stanza and led them to 40 wins by doing so.
Scoring is what the Hawks did this season and they did it well and regularly. While fairing best on the road this post-season, the Hawks did score more goals at home than on the road throughout the season. With the United Center being purposefully built to harness the deafening sounds and celebration of the stadium, it is easy to argue against anyone else’s claim to being the loudest. When the Hawks score they do it in decibels of sound. It is easy to understand how the United Center earned the props it has among both home and away fans.
While accumulating 53 wins in the past two seasons, the Hawks have scored a point in nearly 80% of their games. Unfortunately, as mentioned and probably recognized by many, the team seems to almost work too hard on home ice this off-season. Maybe we can tie it into the fact that they are a young team. Two things are proven regardless though. One, these Hawks enjoy pleasing their fans. Mostly, there won’t be a better place to be when that puck hits the ice on Saturday, then in the thrown of sports madness they call “The Madhouse on Madison.”