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Sports Blog: Sports Events over the Holidays

With the both the holidays and winter break approaching, it’s a great time to grab your friends, your guy or your family and go watch some of the great sports teams in Champaign and Chicago. Here’s a list of some games coming up and an update as to how each of the teams have been doing so far:
In Champaign:
Illini Basketball:
The Illini men’s basketball team may be young this year, but they will definitely be competitive. After a great start to the season, the real test will come when the Illini start their conference games. With the first one on Dec. 27, the game should have a big turnout. Ticket prices range anywhere from $10-$75, but be sure to get them early if you want good seats. Some of the upcoming games to watch are Cornell (Dec. 19), Missouri (Dec. 27), and Purdue (Dec. 31).

If you don’t want to pay for tickets, hit up some local campus bars to watch with fellow Illini fans.
Men’s Hockey:
The Illini Men’s Hockey team is solid this year, and hockey games are always a fun and rowdy experience. Tickets to most of the games are only $6 for students and are at the campus ice rink. Illini Hockey is currently ranked 9th in the ACHA.
Women’s Volleyball:
The volleyball team is one of the best in the nation this year. After a great regular season, the team has now advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. Just two games away from the championship, the Illinois will start the weekend by facing Ohio State.
In The Chicago Area/ Over Winter Break:  

Bears games, bars, and tailgates:
Going to a Bears game is a great activity for winter break. Games are exciting and an experience you won’t ever forget. The Bears are 7-5 and ranked second in the NFC North, right behind the Green Bay Packers.
If you can’t afford to go to the game (like many of us) there are always viewing parties throughout the city.  Also check out http://www.chicagobears.com/events/ for Chicago Bears events and appearances in the community.

The next Bears home game is against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 11. They start the divisional playoffs shortly afterward.
One of my favorite places to watch the game is Rockit Bar & Grill (22 West Hubbard St., Chicago). With two floors, this hotspot is the perfect place to kick back and watch a game.
Some other awesome places to watch the game in Chicago are: Mike Ditka’s, Joe’s Bar, Wild Goose Bar, Citizen Bar and Sedgwick’s.
Chicago Bulls:
They are finally back! While Bulls tickets may be expensive and not on sale yet, the Bulls are definitely a team you don’t want to miss this year. Seeing Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose tear up the court is always a great time.   
If you can’t afford to go to the game, grabbing a bite to eat and hitting up a local or city bar is a great way to show your love for the team with other Chicagoans.

One of my personal favorites is Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap (1970 North Lincoln Ave., Chicago).  The food is great, but the atmosphere is casual and it’s not overcrowded during games.
Some other fun places to watch the games are: Bull & Bear, Market, The Fifty/50 and District Bar.
Chicago Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks have a ton of home games throughout December and January. Tickets may be harder to get or more expensive during the holidays, but the Blackhawks are impressive this year, so go to a game if you can. Chicago’s hockey team is currently ranked second in the Western Conference with a record of 16-8-3.

One way my friends and I have gotten around the high price of tickets is to get standing room tickets. If there are a lot of empty seats, you can move closer a little bit before or after halftime — without a penalty. 
If you don’t want to go to a game or can’t afford to, you can go to an open practice for free at Johnny’s Icehouse West (2550 W. Madison). There are dates posted online, and it’s a great opportunity to try and get the autographs of the players after the practice. Also, if you are a die-hard hockey fan, it’s a chance to see your favorite players up close — for free.  http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=46632
The team website also posts upcoming events, so keep your eyes peeled for more on how you can meet some of the players and get some opportunities for autographs. http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=47411

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