Sports

75 hours to '17 Seconds': Inside the Blackhawks movie

In the coming days, fans will get a fresh look at the Blackhawks' run to their second Stanley Cup in four seasons. "17 Seconds" debuts at Navy Pier on Wednesday to an invitation-only audience, and details regarding a limited run are forthcoming.

Trimming the movie down to its approximately hourlong running time was no easy task. The Banner Collective, an offshoot of Blackhawks TV, had to comb through:   

>> 75 total hours of footage from Game 6 to the Banner Raising Ceremony

>> About 20 hours of parade footage alone from 12 cameras total, including one in a helicopter 

The footage also included 15 Cup days in 15 cities. And there equipment casualties along the way: a broken lens and a microphone lost to champagne damage. 

RedEye spoke to Danny Wirtz, executive VP of Wirtz Beverage Group and a co-founder of the Banner Collective, to get the inside buzz on "17 Seconds." 

What about the movie do you think fans will find most exciting?

The locker room, for example. ... You basically see these guys who are in this battle for three months and they're bearded and they're bloody, and within 17 seconds they shot out of a cannon. I don't know that I've seen other moments where there's the level of exuberance that you see on their faces and in their actions.

It's primal. They're singing, they're screaming, they're yelling. It goes over the top to where they're hugging, and it's a love fest. "I love you man!" It's a pretty special thing. For fans to be able to see that kind of release is pretty cool.

What were they singing?

They were definitely singing "Chelsea Dagger" in their own way, but pretty much just repeating the chorus over and over again. There was other music that was played, and Keith was reciting a line from "Braveheart." That was his mantra in the locker room. 

What's the biggest thing fans will take away from this film?

Especially the way the parade is portrayed, [fans will see] how deeply the city became connected with this team. and to see not just a sports team having a celebration or parade, but a time in which the city was completely captivated by the players, by the story, by the sport of hockey. In typical sports situations, you kind of see it contained within the arena, the game event. But until you actually see the 2 million people wearing red, that's really where it sinks in as to how big and how special this Stanley Cup win was for this city.

Did you ever run out of champagne?

There was definitely more drenching that happened this time. To see my dad [Hawks owner Rocky Wirtz] completely drenched in champagne and beer, I don't think I've ever seen him like that. That was not a memory I had growing up, by any means. [Laughs]. It was pretty cool to see everyone just lost in the moment. I can't remember if it was completely depleted, but they certainly made a good go of it.

What did you learn from the 2010 Stanley Cup celebration that enhanced this film?

I think we had our standard one or two guys covering it. This time we went and hired extra shooters, cameras, so we had multiple, maybe six to 10 cameras just documenting buses and the whole parade experience because it was going to be bigger than we anticipated.

Obviously everybody's seen the broadcast footage of the 17 seconds [in Game 6], but you're also seeing the angle from, let's say the fans within the TD Garden. So you're in the crowd, you're with the injured and reserved players in the locker room and you're also seeing the standard footage.  

The movie is a production of the Banner Collective. How was that branch of the company formed?

Banner Collective started as Blackhawks TV. What we saw is they were taking a much different approach to sports video, not just chopping up highlights and putting it on the Web. We were actually getting really neat behind the scenes access, we were doing skits with the players, we were telling stories, we were documenting different events that were happening and keeping things really fresh on the website. Obviously they built some really good both creative and technical capability inside the Blackhawks. ... We saw the need to break them out of the Blackhawks and make them a whole new entity under the Wirtz Company umbrella.  

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