The Blackhawks celebrated their third Stanley Cup title in the last six seasons on Thursday with a brief parade through the streets of Chicago, culminating in a rally at Soldier Field.
Three days after the Original Six franchise won the NHL championship with a 2-0 home victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6, fans lined the streets of downtown to fete their hockey heroes once more.
The celebration kicked off just after 10 a.m. CT at Washington Boulevard and Racine Avenue, roughly one mile from United Center, and continued eastward until concluding at the intersection of Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue.
"It's amazing as a Hawks fan my whole life. To see it come full circle like this is unbelievable," said Chicago backup Scott Darling, a University of Maine product and the first native of the city to see his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup.
A capacity crowd then greeted the Cup champions at the venerable football venue. A table set up nearby to the podium displayed the four trophies won by the organization, including the Campbell Bowl awarded to the Western Conference playoff champions and the Jennings Trophy -- given to the goaltending duo which allowed the fewest goals during the regular season.
Reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner and top defenseman Duncan Keith modified a quote from "Game of Thrones" reflecting the triumph of his team and the glory of the moment, then added: "What a team. What a city. There's nothing like winning a Cup on home ice in front of your fans! "You guys are what make it special! Let's keep this red machine rolling!"
Though the volume of more than 60,000 spectators was consistently high when players such as Keith, captain Jonathan Toews and star forward Patrick Kane spoke, it surged noticeably when two of the Blackhawks' older veterans -- retiring defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Marian Hossa -- lifted the Cup.
"This is the win we got at home. This is the win for you, our fans, and the city of Chicago," noted Blackhawks principal owner Rocky Wirtz.