Jim sang his first national anthems for the team from 1996–2001 and then again from 2006–2008 as part of a group of singers selected to participate in this tradition. Following shortly on the heels of Rocky Wirtz becoming Owner/Chairman of the team and John McDonough becoming the President/CEO, Jim was asked to serve as the sole anthem singer for the Blackhawks starting with the 2008–2009 hockey season. This coincided with the start of televising Hawks games on WGN and Comcast and the emergence of the team as a powerhouse in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League.
As the team’s popularity has grown, so too has the popularity of the unique national anthem tradition of the Chicago Blackhawks, resulting in some incredible opportunities for Jim as their anthem singer. On January 1, 2009, Jim was seen and heard nationally and throughout Canada, singing at the Winter Classic hockey game at Wrigley Field as well as throughout the playoffs that year. In 2010 the bar was raised higher when the Hawks won the Stanley Cup resulting in more national exposure for Jim. This included singing the anthem for the Stanley Cup victory rally attended by more than 2 million people!
After the Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup victory, performances for the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Sox and Fire followed. This included the nationally televised, highly watched 2011 Conference final between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Jim continues to appear regularly on all the major media networks in the Chicago market area and has continued to receive national recognition with performances at the 2012 Ryder Cup, the Arlington Million horse race, ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Bears opening home games, a repeat Stanley Cup victory by the Hawks in 2013, the 2014 NHL Stadium Series game, the 2014 Nascar Sprint Cup opening race, the historic, international USA Rugby vs New Zealand All-Blacks match up, the Today Show and on September 11, 2014 an appearance on the Colbert Report for the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner!
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS TRADITION
Back in 1985, the Blackhawks dropped the first two games of a playoff series at Edmonton. Wanting to get their team hyped up even before the puck dropped, the Chicago Stadium faithful started cheering all through the American Anthem. The tradition has grown immensely since then. It gained national notoriety during the 1991 Gulf War when Chicago Stadium played host to the NHL All Star Game. I get chills just thinking about it.
The national anthem tradition of the Chicago Blackhawks is a revered tradition among Chicago sports fans. As it has grown in popularity so too has Jim’s rendition. It should be noted that although many know him for his delivery of the Star-Spangled Banner, his own version of O Canada should not be overlooked.
To be at a Chicago Blackhawks game while Jim Cornelison belts out “The Star Spangled Banner” with our military service personnel by his side being cheered by 22,000 fans is one of the greatest traditions in all of sports.
Jim has been the national anthem singer of the Chicago Blackhawks since the 2008-09 hockey season. His renown has risen along with the Blackhawks emergence as a powerhouse in the National Hockey League including Stanley Cup victories in 2010, 2013 and 2015. His unique yet traditional rendition of the Star Spangled Banner has most recently lead to him being asked back to the Indianapolis 500 in 2018 to repeat his performance of Back Home Again in Indiana. All this to critical acclaim from sources such as: Harry Connick, Jr., NPR Morning Edition, the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and many others.
Other recent high profile performances include:
2018 Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors
2018 Notre Dame men’s hockey
2010-18 Chicagoland Nascar Sprint Cup Series race
2010-17 The Chicago Bears home opener
2017 College Game Day performance on ESPN
2017 Northwestern University homecoming
2017 Arlington Million
2017 Friday Night Fights
2016 and 2017 CBS Radio Stars and Strings
2016 Chi-Town Rising New Year’s Eve celebration MC and performance
2016 Monday Night Football
2016 Harry Connick, Jr Show
2016 America Salutes You nationally televised concert
2016 Indiana University vs North Carolina
More appearances over the years have included:
Colbert Report, 2012 Ryder Cup, 2009 NHL Winter Classic, 2014 NHL Stadium Series, USA vs New Zealand All-Blacks, many Division 1 universities, the Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Cubs and Fire and a performance of the anthem in a killer concert with the Smashing Pumpkins