BOLINGBROOK – Bolingbrook resident Tony Ommen was on the ice when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013.
But, for the 43-year-old Ommen, the Hawks’ most recent Cup celebration – following a 4-3 comeback win in which Chicago scored two goals in 17 seconds to eliminate the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final – was particularly special.
“Just when the Stanley Cup was handed to me, my children and wife walked out on the ice and greeted me and hugged me,” Ommen said. “It was a really special moment; it is hard to even dream up something like that. To be able to celebrate with my family as well as the players and colleagues was something I will forever cherish.”
The Chicago Blackhawks Senior Director of Team Services, Ommen – who joined the Blackhawks in 2004 as media relations manager – said his and the team’s success largely is attributed to the diligence of owner Rocky Wirtz and the front office.
Wirtz took over and revitalized the franchise in 2007, raising the team from perennial mediocrity to Stanley Cup champions and one the greatest success stories in sports, according to Forbes Magazine.
“I have been through some of the tough times with the team, so this is really great moment for myself and the Hawks franchise,” Ommen said. “It’s a tremendous group to work for. [The ownership and front office] have been terrific to me and my family, and they brought me along with the team when the transition happened. It’s an amazing experience to be in the Blackhawks organization.”
On Thursday, Ommen chose to spread the benevolence and Stanley Cup cheer by hosting a two-hour photo opportunity and fundraiser at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.
“Today is not only my day with the Stanley Cup, but also my son Logan’s and daughter Emily’s birthdays,” Ommen said Thursday. “This is such a neat day – to be able to celebrate the birth of two of my children and share the Cup with the community is so amazing.”
Ommen was born and raised in Carrollton, Ill. Growing up in a small, agriculture-based community, he said professional hockey was not on his radar until returning from two years of service in the U.S. Army and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
A lifelong sports fan, Ommen moved to St. Louis following college and roomed with several hockey die-hards. He quickly was taken by the skill and athletic prowess exemplified by players in the National Hockey League.
While working a number of sports-related jobs, Ommen began interning with the St. Louis Blues in 1994. He soon was hired to serve in the Blues’ public relations department, working as the team’s assistant director of communications for five years.
Ommen jumped at the chance to return to Illinois in 1999 as the Chicago Blackhawks media relations manager. In his 14 years with the Hawks, Ommen has ascended the from media department to his current title, senior director of team services.
The role has Ommen handling the day-to-day logistics for the team, including road trips and flight planning and hotel accommodations.
Although he never played professional hockey, Ommen said hard work, passion, positive attitude and communication skills inevitably played dividends for him.
“I think it’s important to take advantage of internships and networking opportunities,” Ommen said. “For me, the key to success is just doing your job and not losing track of what your roles and responsibilities are. It’s also about enjoying what you do and always working hard. Hard work always pays off.”