Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 08

President of the Hawks John McDonough shares a moment with the Stanley Cup at Brooks Park. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
John McDonough has done as much as anyone to revive the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.

The path to the Hawks was a long one, but one that never veered to far away from Chicago. Born and raised in Edison Park, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, John began his sporting career as a sales and marketing executive with the Chicago Sting of the North American Soccer League. But where he really created a reputation was during his 24 years with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball's National League. From 1983 to 2007, McDonough revolutionized the ball club's marketing, and in 2007, as president of the Cubs, the squad captured the National League Central title.

John was hired as president of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007, and along with owner Rocky Wirtz, guided the franchise to what Forbes Magazine described as the greatest turn-around of a sports franchise in history. The season ticket base has more than tripled and the team has sold out more than 100 home games in succession. In fact, after dipping precariously close to extinction not long ago, the Blackhawks led the National Hockey League in average attendance in both 2008-09 and 2009-10. In addition, Chicago had all 82 regular season games broadcast on television for the first time in franchise history under McDonough's direction. And then, of course, there was the culmination of all their efforts, winning the Stanley Cup on June 9 for the first time since 1961.

John McDonough's day with the Stanley Cup came on June 19. The celebration began with John, wife Karen and children Colleen, Ryan and Michael having photographs taken at the family home. They then took the revered trophy over to visit Karen's parents. John then had a special moment, visiting his mother's gravesite to share his victory with one who instilled such great values in him. Then, it was over to his childhood home. The home is no longer in the family, but the current residents were more than pleased to swing open their doors to the Hawks' team president with the Stanley Cup. John had to chuckle when he noticed the Cubs logo still on the wall in his old bedroom where he had posted it all those years ago.

A police escort led the Stanley Cup to Brooks Park, where Edison Park celebrated John McDonough Day. In the park's gymnasium, McDonough was feted by fans for his accomplishment. Also present were Blackhawks' public address announcer Gene Honda and Jim Cornelison, the Hawks' anthem singer, who entertained at the Edison Park celebration. Several VIPs were also on hand, including Chicago alderman Brian Doherty and Cook County commissioner, Peter Silvestri. John very humbly greeted the assembled, and stated, "I'm so proud to be able to bring the Cup to Edison Park where I was born and grew up!"

At 1:30, with the playing of the Hawks' adopted theme, 'Chelsea Dagger' by The Fratellis, the reception concluded, and the Stanley Cup was spirited (pun intended) over to The Curragh Irish Pub for a late lunch. A huge crowd met McDonough and the Cup at the popular pub, but a private area had been reserved so that the party could enjoy lunch and a libation.

An attempt to sneak out the back door of Curragh's was greeted by another mob scene. "The Stanley Cup has been a rock star in every place we've gone in Chicago," laughed Mike Bolt, who was travelling with the historic trophy on behalf of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

By mid-afternoon, the Stanley Cup was on its way to nearby Elk Grove Village, where John has resided for better than two decades. A quick stop at a rehabilitation centre was followed by a reception at the Elk Grove Village Hall, hosted by Mayor Craig Johnson with more than 200 in attendance.

At 6:00PM, escorted by the police, the Elk Grove Village Hometown Parade proceeded along Elk Grove Boulevard from Tonne Road to Lions Drive. The town of 35,000 was out in force, with an estimated 10,000 along the parade route to celebrate with the team president and his trophy. McDonough was on a float with Mayor Johnson and the Stanley Cup. The mayor thanked the Hawks for their kindness. "We wish to thank the NHL and the entire Chicago Blackhawks organization, especially Chairman Rocky Wirtz and Blackhawks Team President John McDonough, a 25-year resident of Elk Grove Village, for allowing Elk Grove the prestigious honour of displaying the Lord Stanley Cup to the public," he said.

While carnival rides, music and fireworks continued as part of RotaryFest in Elk Grove, John slipped away in an SUV to Coach's Corner, a terrific sports bar in the town. The walls are lined with pictures and autographs from personalities from the sports world: George Halas, coach of the NFL Chicago Bears, Gale Sayers, Michael Jordan and Bobby Hull, to name a few. They'll now have a most impressive addition — John McDonough and the Stanley Cup on the day they visited the bar!

John was most gracious in sharing the Stanley Cup with the fans that surrounded Coach's Corner, stopping so that well-wishers could touch the hallowed Cup or snap a quick photo.

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Windsor native Joel Quenneville poses with the Stanley Cup while Windsor Spitfire captain Adam Henrique poses with the Memorial Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
July 1st is an extremely important day in Canada. It is, in fact, Canada's birthday. On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act united Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario into the Dominion of Canada, and commemorated the occasion by naming July 1st Dominion Day, a name that was changed to Canada Day in 1982.

The holiday is an occasion for fireworks and celebrating, but no one in Windsor, Ontario had any idea that their city would be thrust into the spotlight be hosting both the Stanley Cup and the Memorial Cup in a Canada Day parade.

The Stanley Cup left Chicago first thing on the morning of July 1, and landed in Detroit, where it was met by Windsor City Councillor, Alan Halberstadt. Time was tight, so in a limousine accompanied by six police motorcycles (three in front and three behind), the Stanley Cup was escorted across the Canada/U.S. border to a spot just east of Windsor's downtown core. There, it was met by Joel Quenneville, the coach of the Stanley Cup champions. Joel was with his wife Elizabeth, although she was not part of the parade.

Windsor native Joel Quenneville poses with the Stanley Cup while Windsor Spitfire captain Adam Henrique poses with the Memorial Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Quenneville holds exulted status in Windsor. 'Local boy made good,' was coined for Joel. A native of Windsor's Riverside area, Joel went on to star with the Major Junior Windsor Spitfires for three seasons, including 1977-78 when he collected 103 points and was drafted 21st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. A long, successful NHL playing career preceded a long, very successful coaching career, which culminated in the Stanley Cup championship with the Blackhawks.

The parade, as mentioned, boasted two hockey championship trophies tied to Windsor. Joel Quenneville and the Stanley Cup were joined by Adam Henrique, the high-scoring forward of the two-time Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires. While the trophies have been in the company of the other many times before, it is believed to be the first time the two have travelled in a parade together.

The parade began at 11:00AM and travelled westward along Wyandotte Street, starting at Devonshire Road and concluding at Glengarry, a wrist shot from Windsor Arena, the former home of the hometown Spitfires (the team moved to the newly-created WFCU Centre during the 2008-09 season).

Joel Quenneville is all smiles during a Stanley Cup parade held in Windsor, ON. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Quenneville and the Stanley Cup were featured in the final vehicle of the parade. Coach Q held the Stanley Cup aloft from the back of the convertible, and could really feel the strain in his arms by the time the parade concluded.

Thousands of fans lined the street, and Joel remarked that he was pleasantly surprised at the number of Blackhawks fans he encountered along the way. Windsor is notorious for being split between fans of the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs, with neither side budging an inch in their fervour.

It was another terrific day, with the Stanley Cup gleaming in the holiday sun. Along the parade route, volunteers gathered non-perishable food items and cash donations to assist the Windsor-Essex Food Bank.

At the conclusion of the parade in Fred Thomas Park, Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis presented the key to the city to the proud yet humble Quenneville. "Every time, it's as good as it gets," said Quenneville, who was part of a Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche as assistant coach in 1996. "It can't get any better. You win the Cup, so it's a great feeling."

But with schedules tight, while a gargantuan birthday cake was being cut and distributed, the Stanley Cup was spirited away in the limousine to head off to its next destination. Escorted by Windsor's finest, folks enjoying a root beer at a nearby A&W were pleasantly surprised to see a limousine carrying the Stanley Cup pull up to the drive-thru window.

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The Stanley Cup Journal will flip pages and return on Friday when we join Jordan Hendry in Okomis, Saskatchewan and Kris Versteeg in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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