Business is booming in Chicago, thanks to Connor Bedard.
The Blackhawks told ESPN on Tuesday morning that they have made $5.2 million in ticketing revenue in less than a day after the team won the 2023 NHL draft lottery. Bedard, a 17-year-old center from Canada, is the projected No. 1 pick in June’s draft. A rival general manager told ESPN that Bedard is “the best NHL prospect since Connor McDavid” while a rival scout told ESPN “he’s a generational talent who can change the complexion of a franchise.”
The Blackhawks said they sold 500 full season ticket packages in the first 90 minutes after the lottery results were announced on Monday night. As of Tuesday, the team’s sales staff has yet to make outgoing calls, only taking inbound.
Chicago had the third-best odds to land the No. 1 pick at 11.5 percent, following Anaheim (25.5 percent) and Columbus (13.5 percent) — who ended up with the second and third overall picks, respectively.
The Blackhawks will now draft first for the second time in franchise history. Patrick Kane was Chicago’s only other No. 1 pick in 2007. After 16 seasons with the team, Kane was traded to the Rangers this season as the Blackhawks continued their rebuild. Blackhawks management had told Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews that they likely would not re-sign them this coming summer, when both franchise stalwarts — who won three Stanley Cups each with the organization — hit unrestricted free agency.
After Chicago won its third Cup in six years in 2015, the team has been in decline. The Blackhawks haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since, and have missed the past three postseasons.
However the Blackhawks still reported stronger-than-expected attendance figures last season. According to the team, they averaged 17,167 tickets sold per game at the United Center last season, which ranked 20th in the league despite a 30th place finish. The Blackhawks went 14-23-4 at home in 2022-23.
The Blackhawks have 11 picks in the 2023 draft, which begins on June 28 in Nashville. The team has two first round picks, four second round picks, two thirds, one fourth, one fifth and a seventh.
Blackhawks ticket sales up after Connor Bedard lottery win