As WGN TV celebrates 75 years, we’re looking back with a series of stories on the history and the memories.
CHICAGO – It’s been a while since the National Hockey League brought their best players to the “Windy City” for a midseason showcase.
In fact, the Blackhawks don’t even play in the same venue as they did the last time they hosted the game 32 years ago. But like many sports events for the past 75 years, we at WGN were there to bring you the coverage of the event.
This edition of “Channel 9 Was There” focuses on the 1991 NHL All-Star Game that was played at Chicago Stadium on January 19. It remains the last time the league has hosted the event in town, doing so just a few years before the United Center replaced the original “Madhouse on Madison.”
The Friday before the game started with the Heroes of Hockey contest that featured a team of Blackhawks alumni facing off against other former stars of the game. That included Blackhawks legends Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull and was proceeded by the NHL Skills Challenge that saw the best in the league compete in a number of events.
Saturday was the game itself, but it was overshadowed by events in the world at that time, which created one of the great moments in Chicago sports history.
The Gulf War had flared up a few days earlier, so most of the news coverage went to the events in Iraq and Kuwait. During the national anthem, which was sung by soloist Wayne Messmer, a worldwide audience was introduced to the Chicago Stadium tradition of cheering during the song.
With a number of American flags waving, the crowd roared as Messmer performed, producing one of the greatest national anthem scenes of all time.
As for the game itself, a trio of hometown Blackhawks, with Chris Chelios starting on defense for the Campbell Conference with Steve Larmer and Jeremy Roenick as reserves. Chelios and Roenick would score goals while Larmer had two assists in an 11-5 Campbell Conference victory.
This edition of “Channel 9 Was There” takes a look at some of the coverage of the event, including a practice led by Mikita for the Heroes of Hockey contest along with the postgame reaction from the Blackhawks on that Saturday.
Larry Hawley has all of that in this edition of the segment on WGN News Now in the video above.