TRACEY MYERS, Blackhawks Insider
Blackhawks president John McDonough was aware of where he could’ve been on Saturday night, when he was honored at the USO of Illinois Star-Spangled Salute.
“I thought tonight, with our Blackhawks schedule, it might be a bit of a conflict. Right now, probably be toward the end of the first period,” McDonough told the audience on the night the Blackhawks were supposed to open their 2012-13 season against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “But I’m certainly standing in a very enviable position.”
McDonough was presented the USA Salute to Leadership Award at this year’s Salute, which was held at the Navy Pier’s grand ballroom. The award is given to a civic or community leader in special recognition for his or her distinguished personal and professional efforts in the support of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Blackhawks have done much to honor the military, including honoring one active duty military member and one retired service member during the national anthem.
“It’s great recognition for the Blackhawks,” McDonough said prior to the ceremony. “Every night, 21,000 people stand and applaud, and they, the players and the coaches recognize what (the military’s) contributions have been. It’s very heartwarming. It’s become a trend across the league. But at the United Center, with everybody from the start of the game with the national anthem, it’s a very huge part of our game presentation and very, very meaningful.”
McDonough was humbled by the evening.
“I’m surrounded by heroes and leaders tonight that are far more deserving than I,” he told the audience. “The freedom we enjoy is not an entitlement, but a commitment from our armed forces. Every night in the United Cente, we’re guaranteed at least one heartfelt standing ovation. It’s not necessarily for a brilliant save or an overtime goal. (It’s) the appreciation of 21,000 people, including every member of both teams, acknowledging the presence of greatness and true dedication to our military.”
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