The Chicago Blackhawks announced today the title addition of Chief Executive Officer to Team President John McDonough.
“John has shown unprecedented leadership, boundless energy and a tireless ability to move the Blackhawks forward since he took over operations for the organization in 2007,” said Chairman W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz. “It is only appropriate that we add CEO to his title as the direction of this franchise continues to strive for excellence.”
“I feel that our franchise has made steady progress over the past four seasons, but we will always be motivated by our quest for consistent excellence,” said McDonough. “It is an honor to be a part of the Blackhawks franchise and I appreciate the confidence that Rocky Wirtz has demonstrated in me.”
McDonough was named president of the Blackhawks on Nov. 20, 2007. Under his guidance, in what Forbes.com has called the “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever,” the Blackhawks have moved quickly to revitalize the team’s profile and re-energize its fan base. With McDonough’s direction, the Blackhawks achieved their “One Goal” of a Stanley Cup championship in 2010, the team’s first title since 1961.
Under McDonough’s leadership, the Blackhawks have become one of professional sports’ biggest success stories. To date, the Blackhawks have entertained 146 consecutive capacity crowds at the United Center and have grown a season ticketholder base from 3,400 to over 14,000. For the first time in franchise history, the Blackhawks welcomed over 1,000,000 fans to the United Center during a single season in 2008-09 (1,052,261), while establishing an NHL club record by attracting a league-leading average of 21,783 to their 40 home dates at the United Center. The Blackhawks have also lead the NHL in average attendance in each of the last three seasons.
McDonough was also instrumental in bringing NHL Winter Classic 2009 to Chicago, a contest which matched up the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in front of 40,818 fans at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009. The game drew an 11.8 overnight rating and a 21 share on NBC in Chicago and over 4.4 million U.S. viewers overall, making it the most-watched NHL game in almost 34 years, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Shortly after his arrival, the club welcomed back Blackhawks legends and Hall of Famers Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito as official team ambassadors and instituted the annual Blackhawks Convention, the first of its kind in the National Hockey League. In addition, landmark partnerships with Comcast SportsNet, WGN Television and 720 WGN Radio were struck to deliver every Blackhawks game to fans throughout Chicago.