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Good morning, frents!

Couple of late nights here with both the Bulls and Blackhawks out west this week. If you need me to come over and pour some coffee on your head this morning, let me know.

Interesting newsletter ahead today, let's get right to it.

Wednesday's results
Hawks 4, Kraken 2
Blazers 112, Bulls 107
NIU 33, Buffalo 27 (OT)

Tonight's schedule
Rutgers at DePaul (7:30, FS1)
Fairleigh Dickinson at Northwestern (8, BTN)

'Joel Quenneville's Mustache' picks his side

For more than 10 years, Christian Deme was a mustache.

Joel Quenneville's Mustache, to be exact.

As the man behind the popular Facebook page of that name, Deme amassed a following that reached over 42,000 Blackhawks fans at its highest point. Deme kept his crowd entertained by posting a mix of news, analysis and opinion. His followers responded by mixing it up in the comments and sharing the posts to their own networks during the Hawks' championship runs.

Conceived in April 2010, Deme faithfully kept the page updated after his undergrad days at the University of Illinois, during his law school run at Marquette and well into his first years as a practicing attorney.

If the Hawks were playing, Deme was posting. And though the crowd grew to almost twice the size of the United Center's capacity, he never monetized the page. It was a labor of love and a way to enhance the way he followed the Hawks and his favorite sport.

Until late last month.

That's when Deme announced to his fans that he was "equal parts disgusted, saddened, and betrayed by the team that I loved so much" following the release of the investigation into Brad Aldrich's sexual assault of Kyle Beach in 2010.

Deme said he would no longer be posting about Blackhawks hockey.

"Even though I'm busy as hell, I always swore I would do it until it was no longer fun," Deme told me last week. "Unfortunately I hit that wall once the (Jenner and Block report) came out. I can deal with poor on-ice performance, even though it made it less fun. But something as bad as the Kyle Beach situation significantly alters how much you're enjoying it.

"Frankly, it just didn't feel like the right decision to go forward with it."

Search "Joel Quenneville's Mustache" on Facebook today and you'll find a much different page than the one that preceded it.

Quenneville and his mustache have been deleted as the avatar.

The title of the page has been changed to "We Stand With Kyle Beach."

A phone number for a hotline to report sexual assault is listed in the info box.  

I reached out to Deme last week because I — like most Hawks fans — have wrestled on how to come to terms with the sexual assault coverup that stained the franchise's reputation and resulted in Quenneville resigning as head coach of the Florida Panthers on Oct. 29.  

But while most of us had the time and space to figure out where we stand, Deme didn't have that luxury. Thousands of fellow fans were waiting to see what he would do with a Facebook page named after one of the scandal's main players.

(One quick note: A Twitter account named @CoachQsMustache is unaffiliated and has been largely inactive since early 2020.)

While Quenneville denied knowledge of the assault after the story broke this summer, the report didn't confirm that.

Quite the opposite.

GM Stan Bowman, since ousted, was quoted in the report as remembering that Quenneville believed the Hawks couldn't deal with the distraction of the case during the 2010 Stanley Cup run.  Beach said in his TSN interview that there's no way Quenneville could not have known given that meetings were held in his office.

"It's hard to tell what went on in that meeting without being in there," Deme said. "And you know, I'm not going to be the arbiter of that. But I think there's certainly a possibility that (Quenneville) shares some of the blame. With that said, I thought (ending the page) was the right thing to do."

The response has been "overwhelmingly positive," Deme said, and the comment sections underneath his posts confirm that. They reveal a big portion of the fanbase that's not quite sure how to move forward but is sure they're disgusted about how Aldrich was allowed to leave the organization and assault others without any interference from Blackhawks brass.

For his part, Deme is still watching the games, though not enjoying them as much as before. He's a big hockey fan who watches the entire league and not just the Hawks.  

But Deme also told me he's uneasy with the idea of spending money for tickets or at the United Center right now.,

He thinks the decision is up to every fan on their own.

"I don't blame anyone who wants to walk away from the team entirely," Deme said. "And I don't blame anyone who wants to stick around and support the young players who weren't even there when this happened. Everyone is coping with it differently. I think the appropriate action is to just kind of accept everyone's own decision while keeping in mind that something definitely went wrong."

So what's next for the new "We Stand With Kyle Beach" page?

Deme isn't quite sure. There won't be any daily hockey posts ever again, he says, but he's open to using it for good. There are still over 38,000 fans signed up for the page and Deme said he'd be "certainly happy" to do so.

There's also a strong possibility that Deme will simply just keep it up and dormant as a reminder of what happened, like Aldrich's name X'ed off the Stanley Cup.  

Whatever happens, there's no mistaking where Deme falls.

"I draw inspiration from the words of the late Anthony Bourdain," Deme wrote in his final post. "In these current circumstances, one must pick a side. I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the victims."

News and results

Bulls: Second-half slump dooms fast start

Tough one. The Bulls led by 20 in the first half, but their third game in four nights caught up with them in the second as Portland came back for a 112-107 win. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 30 points and seven three-pointers, but missed a wide-open look in the final seconds that would've tied it. The Blazers, meanwhile, got to the line 28 times and made 27 of them. Good work if you can get it. Bulls are 10-5.

Next: The Bulls will be in Denver on Friday.

Hawks: DeBrincat nabs Gordie Howe hat trick

The pint-sized superstar had a goal, an assist and five for fighting Seattle's Yanni Gourde in a 4-2 win. Marc Andre-Fleury looked like his old self, stopping 31 of 33 shots including this highlight reel save. Hawks have won four straight.

Next: The Hawks will be in Edmonton on Saturday.

NIU: Huskies clinch MAC West with OT win

Clint Ratkovich's 25-yard TD run gave NIU its eighth win of the season and a spot in its first MAC title game since 2018. After an 0-6 year in 2020, the Huskies now have more wins than Illinois and Northwestern combined.

Next: Against Western Michigan in DeKalb next Tuesday

1. You should read this story about DeMar DeRozan and his father, who passed away in February. The Undefeated

2. The Fire are expected to hire Columbus Crew assistant Ezra Hendrickson as their next head coach. Hot Time In Old Town

3. Glenbard West features 6-foot-11 Gonzaga recruit Braden Huff and is the Sun-Times preseason No. 1. Good feature about a football school gearing up for a big year of basketball. Sun-Times

4. Three scenarios for Matt Nagy over the season's final eight games. Windy City Gridiron

5. Illinois' copy of the Gettysburg Address is coming out of the vault for the next two weeks in Springfield and it has an interesting backstory. WTTW

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