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Shut Out For Blackhawks Tickets?

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Photo courtesy vxla on Flickr.com

Individual tickets for Chicago Blackhawks home games for the upcoming 2010-2011 season went on August 16th, and if you\’re like most fans, you were probably left out in the cold.  Within half an hour, seats for all regular season home games had been sold out, with only a few scattered standing room only spots remaining.   Thankfully, there are some alternative ways to get your game on, depending on how much you\’re willing to spend and how far you’re willing to travel.

“How much?”

There are two sites on which you can usually find tickets for most games: Stubhub or the “official” resale page of the Blackhawks, Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange. (Ed. note: Or from CultureMob’s ticket resale site.) However, if you decide to go this route to see your 2010 Stanley Cup champions, be prepared to pay substantially over face value.  Tickets for a weekday game in January against the worst team in the league – the Edmonton Oilers – were being sold from between $50 apiece way up in the rafters to $450 on the lower level.

“Road Trip!”

Another option is to take a road trip to one of Hawks rivals\’ arenas around the Midwest.  Tickets are generally much cheaper and easier to purchase, and you get the added experience of possibly having derogatory names shouted at you the whole game!

You also have to factor in the cost of transportation and possibly accommodations, but that still may be cheaper than heading down to the United Center and you can make a whole trip out of it.

Among your options within a reasonable driving distance from Chicago are the St. Louis Blues (Oct. 22, Dec. 28 and Feb 21.), Nashville Predators (Nov. 13, Jan. 15, Feb. 24), Detroit Red Wings (Jan. 22, Mar. 28) and Columbus Blue Jackets (Feb. 1, Apr. 1).

“Practice?  We talkin\’ about practice…”

A much more affordable choice to see the Hawks in action this year, albeit not game action, is the third annual Chicago Blackhawks Training Camp Festival, which takes place at the United Center on Saturday, September 18th.

The highlight of the day\’s activities is the Hawks\’ first live scrimmage of the year, with Coach Joel Qunneville on a microphone, so fans can get a better understanding of the drills the players are participating in.  Other events include a 5K Run/10K “Roller-race,” a street festival, bags tournament, and of course, an appearance by the guest of honor, Lord Stanley\’s Cup.  Admission is only $5 and parking is free in United Center Lot K.

Minor Leagues, Minor Prices, Major Action

Another fun and somewhat overlooked opportunity to see some live hockey this season takes place outside of the Chicago city limits.  The area has not one, but two AHL teams that feature young, up-and-coming prospects before they make it to the NHL.

The Blackhawks\’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford Ice Hogs, plays at the MetroCentre in downtown Rockford, which is about a 2-hour drive from downtown Chicago.   Stanley Cup winners Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Dustin Byfuglien, Niklas Hjalmarrson, Antti Niemi and Kris Versteg have spent time with the Ice Hogs over the past several seasons.

A closer alternative is the Chicago Wolves, who, despite their name, play their games at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.  The AHL affiliate for the Atlanta Thrashers, the Wolves have been a model of consistency throughout their 17-year existence, having never endured a losing season and winning their league championship four times.

Tickets for both of these teams are very affordable, from $8 seats in the upper deck to $40 right up against the boards.  In addition, the Ice Hogs and Wolves offer various ticket packages to accommodate your needs.

Get involved!

Lastly, if you want to take to the ice yourself, there are many Youth and Adult hockey leagues that operate around Chicagoland.  A good place to start looking for the right league for you is usahockey.com.

Almost 30 years old, living in Chicago and writing for this blog because I thought it would be fun. The end.