Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 02

Over 2 million people took in the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade. (Craig Campbell/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Everybody loves a parade.

Crowds line the street as brightly coloured attractions pass by, and everybody's feeling euphoric.

And then…there's a Stanley Cup parade in Chicago!

* * *

The Blackhawks scurried out of their dressing room in Philadelphia's Wachovia Center at 2:00AM early Thursday morning (June 10) after a night of celebrating. Family and friends, drenched in the endless ribbons of champagne, hurried to the airport as the charter was set to return them to Chicago, which, as of June 9, 2010, is now the new City of Champions.

Over 2 million people took in the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade. (Craig Campbell/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The plane landed under cover of darkness at O'Hare Airport, greeted by a massive throng of well-wishers wearing red and black. The boys, delirious with accomplishment, descended from the plane to thunderous cheering. Boyish grins and attempts at beards were paradoxical to the crisp suits and designer ties worn by the hockey warriors.

No rest for the weary, the team went directly to Harry Caray's for a first-night celebration. Deservedly so, the party went on and on, and the Hawks kicked at the darkness 'til it bled daylight. After a short nap Thursday early-afternoon, the boys started at the United Center and spent eight hours touring Chicago with the Stanley Cup, visiting seven or eight restaurants and clubs, and led by a 40-person police escort.

Hall of Famer and former Blackhawk Bobby Hull took part in the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion victory parade.
(Craig Campbell/Hockey Hall of Fame)
On Friday morning, June 11, the Blackhawks assembled for one final team photograph. While some had shaved their playoff beards, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer and Antti Niemi still sported their scraggly facial hair. In this era of cap room and free agency, it is sad to contemplate but unlikely that this team will remain intact, so this photo will serve as a very special souvenir of the team that accomplished what no Chicago team had done since 1961…capture the Stanley Cup!

After the photos were taken, Jonathan Toews was presented with a prestigious International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Triple Gold Club pin. He is one of only 23 (and the youngest) to have won the Stanley Cup, a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal.

The boys exited the United Center and readied themselves for the Stanley Cup parade. They piled into one of the ten double-decker buses waiting for them. Temperatures hovered in the range of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), so the celebrants dressed accordingly. The current team was bridged to the glory years of the past, as Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote and Denis Savard joined the bus-top celebration.

Chicago's Jonathan Toews poses for a photo with the Stanley Cup during the Stanley Cup Champion victory parade.
(Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)
While the party has been non-stop since the Kane tally earned the championship, it was when the boys looked out from the buses and saw nothing but a sea of red that the significance of their accomplishment on the City of Chicago was truly realized. Two million hockey fans were lined along the streets to salute the victors; the largest Stanley Cup parade ever and much larger than the parade that heralded the Chicago White Sox World Series championship in 2005. Some may scoff at the two-million figure, but cities are able to accurately measure the size of massive crowds by using grids taken from the vantage point of helicopters.

The parade began from Washington and Wacker at 10:30 on Friday morning, and proceeded onto Michigan Avenue, then north to Wacker. The hockey gods clearly were looking out for the Blackhawks, because the skies were overcast and ominous looking, but the rain held off and allowed the parade to carry on unimpeded.

The players scattered among the various buses, but the tenth and final double-decker was reserved for owner Rocky Wirtz, captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, the Conn Smythe Trophy and, of course, the Stanley Cup.

As the buses pulled onto Michigan Avenue, the Hawks were draped with ticker tape that rained down on them like an avalanche (not the hockey variety). The police officers were spectacular, allowing the fans to get close to their heroes but making certain order was maintained.

Chicago's Patrick Kane proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup during the Stanley Cup Champion victory parade.
(Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)
At the conclusion of the parade, a civic rally was held for the team. Former Hawk Ed Olczyk served as master of ceremonies on a large stage that held the players, coaches and management, as well as Mayor Richard Daley and Governor Pat Quinn (not the hockey variety).

"We live in the greatest city in the world, and we have the greatest hockey team in the world," Olczyk began. As he then spoke about the job Rocky Wirtz did in rebuilding the team, the crowd chanted, "Rocky! Rocky!" Wirtz humbly responded by saying, "Two-and-a-half years ago, we stood before you, committing that the Chicago Blackhawks would be a relevant team again. We also said we would not rest until we brought the Stanley Cup home to you. Well, if this isn't relevant, I don't know what is! And with respect to the Stanley Cup, it's home! That's the place we want it to stay!"

Duncan Keith took to the microphone and asked if anyone knew of a good dentist. His smile exhibited a gap wider than a Michael Leighton five-hole where seven teeth were knocked out by a puck during the Hawks' series with San Jose.

Patrick Kane incited the crowd to cheer louder and louder, and called winning the Stanley Cup "the best experience that I've ever been through." Patrick Sharp laughingly offered to tell the crowd Kane's cellphone number. Dustin Byfuglien presented an award to Kane.

Much to the delight of both teammates and the crowd, Kris Versteeg did his version of LMFAO's 'Yes':

"Every time I dive into my pool it's hard to be humble
While I do a breaststroke through an underground tunnel
And come up on the other side in a Jacuzzi
Greeted by two girls that are wearing my jersey.
They give me lots of hugs and kisses and they ask me what my wish is.
I say, 'Go and get your friends 'cause there's gonna be a party.'
And in the end, the Stanley Cup is the dream.
"

Coach Joel Quenneville addressed the multitudes, and then, to conclude the afternoon, captain Jonathan Toews stepped up to the mic, cradling the Stanley Cup, and gazed out at the crowd. "I didn't know there were this many people in Chicago," he stated incredulously. "That's unbelievable! You guys are the best fans in the world!"

The Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions team photo.
(Craig Campbell/Hockey Hall of Fame)

Two million people and a city in love with its hockey team. And the celebrations have only just begun!

Afterwards, the team and staff retired to a downtown hotel for a party.

* * *

On Friday, the Stanley Cup Journal will take you to the mound for nine innings of Cubs and White Sox baseball, then we'll take you onto the set of 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno. Hope you'll join us then!

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

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
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