The Last Circus (Road Trip)

For as long as I can remember, the last two weeks in November have been tough on both the Chicago Bulls and the Blackhawks fans. Both teams head off west while the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus take over the United Center for two weeks after spending the previous two weeks at the home of the Chicago Wolves, the Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont. The Circus Road Trip has been horrible for Bulls fans as that are 23-78 since Michael Jordan retired as a Bull in 1998. As for Blackhawks fans, the Circus Road Trip has been somewhat successful, more successful since Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews joined in this, their 10th season in the NHL. Here’s a breakdown of all 19 previous Circus Road Trips the Blackhawks took since the United Center opened in 1994: (there were no Circus Road Trips in 1994-95 and 2012-13 because of a lockout-shortened season, and prior to 2006 season records had ties, not overtime losses)

  • 1995-96: 2-1-4
  • 1996-97: 2-3-1
  • 1997-98: 3-1-2
  • 1998-99: 2-4-0
  • 1999-2000: 1-6-0
  • 2000-01: 3-3-2
  • 2001-02: 0-3-3
  • 2002-03: 1-6-0
  • 2003-04: 0-6-0
  • 2005-06: 2-3-0
  • 2006-07: 1-3-1
  • 2007-08: 2-2-2
  • 2008-09: 3-2-1
  • 2009-10: 4-1-1
  • 2010-11: 4-2-0
  • 2011-12: 3-3-0
  • 2013-14: 6-1-0
  • 2014-15: 5-1-0
  • 2015-16: 3-1-2
  • 2016-17: 3-3-1

When you add these totals, the Hawks are 47-52-12-7 when the Circus is in town, but 30-13-6 since Kane and Toews joined the team. These long road trips has some positive and negative impacts from a hockey perspective.

PLUS: You and your teammates get to bond together. It doesn’t feel like a team, but it’s starting to feel more like family.

MINUS: After the trip, the first game back home is a trap game, and with parity reigning the NHL, those points could either bolster or cost you a playoff position.

So will I miss it? Yes, and no. Yes, because in recent times, the Greatest Show on Earth wasn’t the Circus. It was the Blackhawks in Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis, Dallas, Denver, St. Paul, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Glendale, and every game, Hawks fans were taking over the arena, taking away home-ice from the other team. On the other hand, I won’t miss it, because the stars of the show at the United Center have been and always will be the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks. With the Circus Road Trip being abolished, there’s no more stretches of four home games in a 7-day period. Home games will be spread out more come November 2017. But both the Bulls and the Hawks will have to go on another long road trip in February, because of the Ice Follies or as it’s known today: Disney on Ice. But that will have to wait for another day, most likely after the All-Star break.



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