The Chicago Blackhawks have eliminated the St. Louis Blues, just like Kelly Amonte-Hiller said they would. She made the Hawks prediction, only because I asked her last night after her Northwestern Lacrosse team defeated USC 12-7 at Wrigley Field last night.
Kelly Amonte-Hiller (a five time Coach of the Year, who’s gone 211-20 since 2005) is the sister of Blackhawks icon Tony Amonte, the high scoring forward.
“I’m a Chicago sports fan, I have always been since my brother was captain of the Blackhawks,” Amonte-Hiller said.
“It’s only right, I make my living here in Chicago, and I should be a fan of these teams.” She later added that she’s a fan of the Boston teams too, as she is originally from Beantown. However, Amonte-Hiller assured us that she rooted for the Blackhawks last summer when they beat the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. The first round series between the Hawks and Blues had so many overtime periods, and brimming with so much drama than it took an emotional toll on all of us.
“A couple times I’ve fallen asleep so I don’t know how much my heart was tested, cuz it was a busy week for me,” she said.
“But they’ve been exciting and it’s been an exciting week for Chicago sports, it’s great to have so many great teams and we feel very connected to that; and hopefully people continue to follow us and consider ourselves in the same light.”
Kelly Amonte-Hiller is right about Northwestern being mentioned in the same light as the other major Chicago sports teams. The Cubs, Hawks and NU are completely intertwined, upon multiple levels. The shared partner of WGN Radio AM 720/87.7 The Game is the obvious connection, but there are numerous others.
Obviously, the NHL is much more popular, and a way bigger game than any women’s collegiate sport. Or even a men’s non revenue generating college sport. Also, the Blackhawks are the hottest team in town right now having won championships in 2010 and 2013. They’ll meet the winner of Colorado-Minnesota in the next round. The Avs currently lead the series 3-2.
Joel Quenneville has two titles in four years, which is fantastic, but Kelly Amonte-Hiller has seven titles in nine seasons. She might be the most successful Coach in Chicago, and she’s the only one named to the Crain’s 40 under 40 list.
Former Blackhawks legend Chris Chelios was in attendance, as his daughter Caley Chelios, a Northwestern lacrosse defender, saw some playing time in the Friendly Confines. She hails from Detroit, where her dad works in the Red Wings front office, and she’s a graduate of the famous Cranbrook Academy. (Quoting Jimmy B. Rabbit Smith, in reference to his rap battle opponent Papa Doc in 8 Mile: “Cranbrook- that’s a private school!”)
Chris Chelios bought 500 tickets (at $10 a pop, that’s five grand he dropped tonight on tickets alone) and handed them out to Northwestern students. I caught up to Chelios in his suite at 1060 W. Addison and he spoke of his generous gesture.
“Nobody likes to play to an empty stadium,” Chelios said.
Following a NU goal tonight, the Wrigley sound system even played the Blackhawks goal-scoring celebration song “Chelsea Dagger.” (Still don’t know why the Hawks chose that tune, a garbled hot mess of song with lyrics that are about shooting up cocaine with a prostitute, as their celebration anthem. Then again we need to ask Amstel Light the same question)
On Thursday, Kelly Amonte-Hiller and NU LAX hosts Vanderbilt in the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament at Lakeside Field. She’s 225-38 in her career at Northwestern, and she also won two championships as a player at Maryland. Kelly Amonte-Hiller is signed at NU until 2021. She’s helped to make lacrosse a sport that’s recognizable outside the Eastern time zone. Her 2005 team became the first, and is still the only men’s or women’s lacrosse team out of the Eastern time zone to have ever won a national title.
Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a frequent guest on national talk radio. Banks is a former contributor to NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, who’s been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Follow paulmbanks