“When the season ended in 2007, the Hawks ranked 29th out of 30 teams in attendance, averaging 12.727 fans per game. With the United Center often less than half-filled, you got a seat for yourself and another for your coat.

“Since then, there have been a zillion stories about the resurgence of the Hawks. Here’s the ultimate confirmation: The Hawks are ranked No. 1 in the NHL, averaging 21,475 fans per game. They’ve gone from next-to-last to first in less than two years. Amazing.”

[snip]

“‘The Blackhawks have experienced a cultural change that has developed a bit faster than anticipated,’ [Jay Blunk, the Hawks senior vice-president of business operations] said.”

I’ll just say it: “cultural change” = Bill Wirtz died. Wirtz was the exact opposite of the best traits of Bill Veeck combined with George Steinbrenner. The post-Bill Wirtz ‘Hawks are like a dog that’s been moved from an abusive owner to a loving family, though I didn’t expect to see them rebound this fast.