Craig and Kim Hartman usually don’t get to United Center for Chicago Blackhawks games anymore.
After all, they have a bar to run, Bar Down Sports Grill, about 40 miles northwest of Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. It is completely dedicated to the Blackhawks, the team Craig has rooted for since his days growing up in Garfield Park, a few miles from United Center.
But Craig was at the arena on Thursday, standing below the seats in Section 108. The man who runs a Blackhawks bar was rooting for a member of the Philadelphia Flyers: his son, forward Ryan Hartman.
“There’s part of me that still wishes he was in a Blackhawks sweater but, it’s good to be back and be at the UC watching him,” Craig said of Ryan, who played his first four NHL seasons (2014-18) for Chicago. “It’s just kind of different. We never thought he’d play in this arena, then we made a home of it, so coming back it seems a little different. But it’s still special, so [we’re] still pretty fortunate.”