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Article updated: 3/7/2013 5:54 PM

Libertyville Sports Complex to host Blackhawks road party

By Mick Zawislak

For a third consecutive year, the Libertyville Sports Complex will be transformed to the United Center North for rabid fans to watch and cheer the hottest team in hockey.

On April 9, the Blackhawks again will bring the official "Roadwatch Party" to the complex at Route 45 and Peterson Road for the game against the Minnesota Wild.

In each of the past two years, about 400 fans, many in Hawks garb, have attended the event and basked in an atmosphere designed to make the experience feel as close to a home game at the United Center as possible.

Fans sit in bleacher seats and picnic tables set up on a basketball court to watch the game on a big-screen TV but there are plenty of extras, including appearances by a legendary player/ambassador (it was Hall of Famer Denis Savard the past two years); Tommy Hawk, the official mascot; and, the Ice Crew Girls.

Jim Cornelison again will be in the building to deliver his stirring live rendition of the national anthem to start the game.

"This is a very important part of their outreach and marketing in the community so they bring out their key celebrities," said Connie Kowal, the director of the village-owned facility.

Banners will be displayed from the rafters. The scoreboard at the complex is synced to the game clock. When the Hawks score, the signature red light is lit and the "Chelsea Dagger" singing rendition begins.

Other activities include rally towels for attendees, a shoot the puck contest, raffles for Hawks memorabilia, poster and picture giveaways and a floor hockey area for kids.

"The Hawks really put a lot into this," Kowal said.

Tickets are $10 per person with 500 available. They can be ordered by calling (847) 918-7275 or at the front desk of the Sports Complex. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. start.

Roadwatch parties traditionally have been done at bars and restaurants but Kowal, a former executive with a variety of professional sports teams including the Cubs, initiated the contact with the thought of expanding the size of the venue for a family event.

"After the first year, they saw it worked. They've been just as anxious as I am to say, `Let's do it again,'" Kowal said.

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