The Chicago Blackhawks have finally listened to their fans. "The Stripper" is no more.
On Tuesday, we discussed the "Shoot the Puck" game that's become a staple of Blackhawks home games. In the intermission segment, fans are selected, presumably at random, to shoot at the goal from center ice. It's mostly harmless, except when beautiful women take their turn, Frank Pellico's organ launches into a rendition of sleazy instrumental track "The Stripper".
This has been going on for decades, and while many fans have expressed their frustration with this casual sexism over the years, the Blackhawks have been slow to respond.
Backlash has been mounting this summer, however, and on the heels of a confrontation at Blackhawks Convention, which stoked the fires of a movement online, Blackhawks CEO John McDonough told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times that the team would finally be doing something about it.
"I think you’ve heard the last of Frank Pellico playing 'The Stripper'," he said. More, from the Sun-Times:
McDonough wouldn’t say for certain if the Shoot the Puck selection process would be overhauled completely — he said he rarely, if ever, watches Shoot the Puck, and therefore “can’t give you an opinion” — but said the Hawks heard their fans’ message loud and clear.
“We have to listen,” he said. “We have to be aware. We have to react when appropriate — not overreact, but react. We take all of this very seriously. We have had to take a look at every single element, every aspect of our operation, our hockey business from A to Z. I certainly have read the stories, and I understand the sensitive nature of all of that.”
As for other complaints, such as getting more women involved at next year's Blackhawks Convention, McDonough was less committal.
"We hear the feedback, we respect it, we’re distilling it." he said.
Not everything is settled, then, but this is still a big win for the Blackhawks fan community, who spoke up and pressed to get the casual sexism out of "Shoot the Puck". It's also encouraging, as it shows the Blackhawks are indeed willing to listen to reason.
Next up: Ban Chelsea Dagger. Not because there's anything inherently wrong with it. It's just annoying.