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Ernie, Mary, Roslyn, and Susan cheering on the jumbotron

Four Lifelong Fans Cheer on the Blackhawks

There’s not much that compares to the thrill of a live hockey game! According to Ernest, Susan, Roslyn, and Mary, that is. 

When Wish of a Lifetime heard the stories of these four dedicated fans, we knew that an extraordinary wish story was in the making.


“Ernie,” age 71, was born in Chicago, IL, and is proud to be a self-proclaimed “South Side boy.” Along with that title comes a deep loyalty for the Chicago Blackhawks, whom he grew up watching on TV. Ernie loved the game so much that when he was 16, he got a job as an usher. Between collecting tickets and seating guests, he stole glimpses of the action on the ice every chance he got.

Since his first job at the arena, Ernie has tried a little bit of everything. He served in the Navy and has experienced a variety of jobs, from physical work at the docks to sales as a telemarketer and shoe salesman. Along the way, he faced personal obstacles that eventually led him to discover his church, which he says turned his life around for the better.

In his retirement, Ernie volunteers at many events with his church community. And, of course, he’s still rooting for his favorite Chicago teams. But it has been years since Ernie has had an opportunity to attend a game in person, deterred by financial concerns and his limited mobility from using a cane.


Fellow Chicagoan Susan was born and raised on the North Side. Susan loved going to Blackhawks games throughout her youth and as a young adult, but stopped when the cost of tickets increased.

Service has been at the core of Susan’s life, pushing her to join the Peace Corps after gaining higher education and working for FEMA in disaster relief for 14 years. Susan has also sponsored four children from rural Africa. She is proud to share that they’ve each chosen careers dedicated to helping others.

At age 68, Susan continues to work full-time. She has an active social life and spends her free time exercising, volunteering, connecting with friends, and advocating for social causes with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, a grass-roots organization led by older adults. “I am always up to something,” she said. “Every day looks a little bit different for me.”

The closest Susan has come to attending a live hockey game in many years is watching the neighborhood kids play on the frozen lake in the winter. Attending a game would allow her to take a moment for herself—and to feel a thrill again! “Hockey is excitement! You stop thinking about life outside; you get into the players and the sport and just enjoy it,” she explained.


Roslyn, age 72, also volunteers with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus and is the president of the independent living community for older adults where she lives. Getting involved in the betterment of her community comes naturally to Roslyn after a career in Human Services for the State of Illinois. Roslyn spent many years helping families find resources and navigate the system so they could stay together whenever possible. And in her own family, she is a devoted grandmother to her 10-year-old great-grandson, Therod.

Roslyn hopes her grandson will grow to love hockey as much as she does. When Roslyn was a child, her stepfather worked as a janitor in the United Center, sometimes bringing home tickets. Even from the “nosebleed” seats, she loved every minute of the games. Some of her favorite memories are watching hockey with her family.

She’s a diehard Blackhawks fan, but health issues have kept Roslyn away from the ice over the last decade. Roslyn is a cancer survivor of 12 years and has also survived multiple strokes. Roslyn wished to accompany her grandson to his first-ever hockey game.


Mary, age 78, also enjoys volunteering with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus and serves on a committee dedicated to healthcare issues. Caring for others is core to who Mary is after a 45-year career as a registered nurse.

Mary and her husband moved to Chicago after college and instantly fell in love with their new home. “We used to live near the United Center,” she explained. “We would see the players around the neighborhood and became big fans!”

While she loves watching the Blackhawks on TV, Mary wants to see the action in person. She loves the idea of being in the crowd, surrounded by all of the positive energy of the cheering fans. As her husband faces a new cancer diagnosis, this experience would be a bright spot for them.

When we heard their stories, hockey was a common thread that made Ernie, Susan, Mary, and Roslyn happy throughout their lives. We couldn’t resist the chance to celebrate these wonderful people in the most-fitting way!

Along with special guests of their choice, our hockey enthusiasts were given VIP treatment in a private suite at the United Center. They loved meeting each other while cheering on the Blackhawks as they played the Vegas Golden Knights.

Along with the best seats in the house, the Chicago Blackhawks Community Engagement team pulled out all the stops to make the evening extra special.

“When we walked in, there were jerseys on the table, and I saw one had my name,” Roslyn explained. “I put it right on—it was so classy… I started crying!”

Roslyn’s grandson was all smiles, especially when mascot Tommy Hawk was around. Sharing the experience with her son and grandson was as sweet as she had imagined—a memory she’ll cherish for a lifetime.

“My grandson was hugging the mascot—he got so much attention,” she exclaimed. “There was so much love in that room!”

Susan, accompanied by her friend’s grandson, also felt swept away by the experience. “This wish made me feel alive, involved, and important,” she said. “It brought a smile to my face—what a wonderful evening!”

But for Ernie and his close friend, the highlight of the evening was not on the ice. To his surprise, legendary Blackhawks alum Denis Savard visited them in their suite! He signed jerseys and even gave them the honor of trying on his Stanley Cup ring!

“No doubt that was the highlight,” Ernie said. “It was fantastic—who could ask for anything more?”

Mary said she felt more socially engaged and happy after the experience, accompanied by her husband. “Everyone in the group was so much fun. The Wish team was delightful, and meeting Denis Savard was very special,” she said.

Ernie, Susan, Roslyn, and Mary were having so much fun that they even earned the attention of the jumbotron! The entire arena witnessed the exuberance of the lifelong hockey fans cheering on their favorite team.

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