It was the second intermission of the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, and we were bundled to our eye sockets in winter gear. A reporter going gloveless with a notepad descended on our seats to ask my father, John Hughes, for his take on the scene. It was one of countless hockey games we attended over the years, and certainly not the first between the two Original Six teams representing his home state of Michigan and the city he adopted and loved all out of proportion, Chicago. After nearly a decade of skirting interviews, outdoor hockey provided the perfect icebreaker.
My father had long savored his anonymity in Chicago, in some small measure to ensure easy access to Blackhawks games, for which we've had season tickets since the Reagan administration. He stuck with the team throughout, particularly during a fallow stretch in the late '90s that provided only intermittent sparks (Krivo overtime goals; Bob Probert's second act), to say nothing, and better for it, of the uneventful mid-2000s, all the way through what Forbes deemed "the greatest sports-business turnaround ever" in 2007, after ownership was passed to Rocky Wirtz. A Cup was soon within reach.