Chicagoans Score Another Summer with Stanley

Ben Szalinski, Guest Reporter

In what has become a biennial tradition in Chicago, Lord Stanley’s Cup was paraded around the city by the Blackhawks, who in their history have won six championships. Lead by defenseman Duncan Keith, the Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) winner, the Blackhawks clinched game six against the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0, winning their first Stanley Cup on home ice since the 1930s. What followed was another summer to remember for Hawk fans, with parades and other appearances by the Stanley Cup.

Following a night of parties at various bars around Chicago, the Blackhawks first public appearance with the Cup was at Wrigley Field for the Cubs and Indians game, which attempted to bring positive hopes to the much-improved Cubs team.

Two days later, the city threw the ultimate party for the team.

On June 18, the Blackhawks championship parade kicked off at the United Center. Fans from the suburbs woke up before the sun, packed trains, and braved a heavy thunderstorm for a chance to see their heroes.

The parade started small, but as it entered the loop, attendance grew significantly, which police estimated to be around two million people. Fans packed into entire city blocks, and the crowd cheered as loud as a game at the United Center. Former players with current coaches and current players filled double decker buses, and for most of the route, Patrick Sharp, now with the Dallas Stars, hoisted the Stanley Cup.

“There was a lot of excitement. You could tell everyone was really [thrilled] to be there [and to] celebrate,” said junior Julie Specht, who watched the parade on Monroe at State Street.

Following the parade, the Hawks held a rally at Soldier Field.

“There’s no way to put it into words what this [rally] is, and here we are a third time,” said Captain Jonathan Toews in his rally speech in June.

Throughout the rest of the summer, players got to spend a private day with the Cup. Some took it fishing, others to fairs and barbeques. Many also opted to visit hospitals or do other events for charity. The Cup traveled the world from goalie Scott Darling’s home town in south suburban Lemont to the property of Marian Hossa in Slovakia.

The Cup was touched by thousands of fans, and seen by many more, including Junior Delaney Appelhans.

“I was asked to babysit for a family in my neighborhood, [and] the husband works for Bentley Gold Coast, a dealership in the city. [They] sell cars to Marian Hossa. Every year they win the cup, Hossa brings it for a private party for the families of the dealership, so I was babysitting and getting paid while also having the chance to meet Hossa.”

Besides a travelling Cup, the summer included changes to the team, with fan favorite Sharp being traded. Upcoming star Brandon Saad also was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and even the status of Patrick Kane is up in the air with an ongoing criminal investigation. However, the stars are still in place, and the team will not be taken lightly, even if they are short three stars. General Manager Stan Bowman weathered the salary cap sell off of 2010, and Hawks fans should have great confidence that he will do it again.

“I expect them to do pretty good and wouldn’t be surprised with a finals appearance. I think the Hawks will win the Cup in the next three years or less,” predicted Junior and avid Hawks fan Sam Eugenis.

The 2015 summer with the Stanley Cup will still be one that should be positively remembered. After all, when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman awarded the Cup to the team, he proclaimed that the team’s core is one of the greatest ever: “Chicago, that’s three Cups in six seasons. I’d say you have a dynasty.”