Let the Hawks hear you

Blackhawks fans have plenty of reason to be proud these days. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Tribune)

As a sportswriter I have to differentiate fan from journalist almost on a daily basis. But after watching the last three Blackhawks games, the fan has come out of me by force of nature.

Anyone who knows me understnds I am mostly just an observer of hockey. Growing up, I didn't watch the sport much aside from the Stanley Cup playoffs. I guess you can blame that on the fact that for years the Blackhawks' home games were never on TV.

You can also blame that on my undying passion for football; I live and die with the Bears. Of course, the Cubs, Sox and Bulls are never far from my radar.

Heck, I probably watch arena football and soccer more than I watch hockey. But as a Chicagoan, I've always had a soft spot for the Blackhawks. I may not talk about it much, but I am proud to live in a city with one of the best sports franchises in the country.

Over the past few years the Blackhawks have given Chicago a sense of pride. They have made the playoffs every year since 2009 and won Lord Stanley's Cup in 2010.

By contrast, the Cubs and Sox have failed to make the postseason since 2008. The Bears have made only four playoff appearances since 2001. The Bulls have been a consistent playoff team the past few years but always wind up getting eliminated in humiliating fashion. This year, Jonathan Toews and company are just eight victories away from hoisting another Stanley Cup.

The consistency Joel Quenneville's team has shown has surpassed all other Chicago teams. These accomplishments make me proud to be a Chicagoan, and a Chicago sports fan. Perhaps I should be more vocal about it …

Gabe Salgado is a RedEye special contributor.

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