WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s alum John McDonough ’75, president of the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, shared his triumphant and inspiring story with his alma mater Thursday, Sept. 2.
McDonough served as the guest speaker during SMU’s annual convocation ceremony, where Brother William Mann presented him with a Presidential Award for Outstanding Merit.
The award was presented to McDonough for his exemplary leadership in the world of professional sports and his “heartfelt dedication” and devotion to Saint Mary’s.
During his visit, McDonough also spoke to business students and faculty about “The Chicago Blackhawks ‘One Goal’ Business Plan.” Additionally, he participated in a Q&A session for SMU administration, faculty, student leaders and Winona business leaders.
McDonough was named president of the Chicago Blackhawks in November of 2007. Under his guidance, in what Forbes Magazine has called the “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever,” the Blackhawks moved quickly to revitalize the team’s profile and re-energize its fan base. Just over two and a half years after his arrival, the organization achieved its “One Goal” of a Stanley Cup title in 2010, the team’s first since 1961.
Under McDonough’s leadership, the Blackhawks became one of professional sports’ biggest success stories. As of June 6, 2010, the Blackhawks have entertained 102 consecutive capacity crowds at the United Center and have grown a season ticketholder base from 3,400 to over 14,000 in under a year.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks, McDonough served as president of the Chicago Cubs. During his tenure, the Cubs won the 2007 National League Central Division while setting an all-time franchise attendance record. As the Cubs chief, and in his previous role as senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting, he was widely viewed as a sports marketing and management innovator who played a major role in growing the Cubs’ fan base and attracting sponsorships for one of the most successful pro sports franchises in America.
View photos from this event.