01/11/2010 9:12 PM
- From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
Following the contract extensions for stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz has ensured long-term stability now off the ice as well, announcing today a multi-year contract extension for team president John McDonough.
Since being appointed to the position on November 20, 2007, McDonough has overseen a Blackhawks resurgence that earlier this year was dubbed “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever” by Forbes magazine. This past Sunday, the Blackhawks entertained their 76th capacity crowd at the United Center and have grown their season ticketholder base to 14,000 from just 3,400 at the start of the 2007-08 season.
"Under John's leadership, the Chicago Blackhawks have become a franchise leader in the National Hockey League," said Rocky Wirtz in a Wirtz Corporation memo. "His commitment, insight and guidance have led the organization to record attendance, unprecedented ticket sales, new sponsorships and partnerships with WGN Radio and WGN-TV."
Wirtz also said that the fan response to the Blackhawks' revitalization has been "humbling and gratifying," adding that it is a "tribute to our organization, the incredible athleticism of our players, and the outstanding professionalism John has instilled at every level of our operation."
During the 2008-09 campaign, the Blackhawks welcomed over one millions fans to the United Center, while establishing an NHL club record by averaging of 21,783 to their 40 home dates. McDonough was also instrumental in bringing the NHL Winter Classic 2009 to Chicago, which saw the Blackhawks battle the rival Red Wings at Wrigley Field. The game drew an 11.8 overnight rating and a 21 share on NBC in Chicago with over 4.4 million U.S. viewers overall, making it the most-watched NHL game in almost 34 years.
Shortly after McDonough's 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. The third annual Blackhawks Convention will take place this July in Chicago and has already sold out.