Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (WBBM) - Beginning next month, Chicago Blackhawks fans will be able to display their loyalty to the 2010 Stanley Cup champions with special Illinois license plates.
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The plates will be difficult to miss — bright red with black and white stripes across the top similar to those on the Hawks’ home game sweaters, and the logo of Chief Blackhawk.
There’s an extra charge for the plates, with 25 dollars of the fee for each set of plates going to the Common School Fund, which supports public schools statewide.
That scores with Blackhawks goalie Marty Turco, who said, “Having two of my three children in the public schools, it’s nice to know that some of the funds will go to the schools here in Illinois.”
Flanked by Turco, team President John McDonough, Executive Vice President Jay Blunk and Hawks immortal Stan Mikita, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said he expects sales of the plates to be brisk.
“By us bringing out this wonderful license plate, we’ve been able to break the ice,” he said.
The pun may be bad, but he is telling the truth.
State law has permitted license plates honoring pro sports teams since 2002, but the Blackhawks are the first team to take advantage.
White said the offer is good for both Chicago and St. Louis professional sports franchises. The state of Missouri has specialized plates honoring the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Cardinals, but neither team has approached the state of Illinois about a similar plate.
White said once the Blackhawks indicated their interest in such a license plate, it took less than four months to move forward.
Fans can begin ordering the plates immediately at the Secretary of State’s Web site. White said they will be mailed beginning Nov. 10. Those who want to be among the first to have them on their car can purchase and drive home with random-numbered plates from the United Center Nov. 10, when the Blackhawks host the Phoenix Coyotes.
Prices for random-numbered Blackhawks plates start at $139, for cars that are already titled in Illinois. Those seeking personalized plates, with both numbers and letters, will have to pay $186, while those seeking vanity plates (letters only) will face a $233 fee.
Prices are higher for those seeking Hawks plates for a newly-acquired vehicle, with a top end of $328 for a vanity Hawks plate on a new car.