Blackhawks hold Loop victory rally
June 11, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Duncan Keith joked with 2 million Blackhawks fans who gathered to cheer on the Stanley Cup champions that he could use the name of a dentist.
Keith joked with 2 million Blackhawks fans who gathered to cheer on the Stanley Cup champions that he could use the name of a dentist.
Keith, a defenseman, lost seven teeth when he was hit by a puck. He and other players- including Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews- spoke during the city-sponsored rally in Chicago's Loop. Kane promised to keep his shirt on 'for all the cab drivers out there,' referring to an altercation he had with a cab driver earlier.
An estimated 2 million Blackhawks fans attended the parade and rally in Chicago's Loop.
"This is crazy. It's great to be out here. We're never gonna see anything like this again," said Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks winger.
"It's great. A lot of fun right now," said Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks defenseman.
"This unbelievable. This is stupid. This is nuts," said Adam Burish, Blackhawks winger.
"I'm glad the kids got to see the whole thing. They were totally amazed. A great feeling. Everybody was kind of enjoying what went on in the playoff run. Today, they get to express it. It feels great," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
Thousands of people fell in line behind the buses carrying the players as the parade moved on. A Chicago police officer was knocked down while doing crowd control, but she is OK, police said.
Several people in the crowd were overcome by heat. Twenty suburban ambulances were requested to assist the Chicago Fire Department as crews scrambled to answer 125 calls for help from fans who couldn't get out of the heat- or the rally. The CTA sent cooling buses to help with the crowd. Fifty people were taken to the hospital. Most were treated for heat related illnesses and released, officials said.
The parade got off to a late start, but the estimated 2 million fans didn't seem to mind.
"I've been here since 7:30," said Jimmy Burks, Blackhawks fan, who said it was 'totally' worth it.
"I have waited 43 years for this championship. I'm ecstatic. A once in a lifetime experience," said Bobby Burks, Blackhawks fan.
"It is great. And I'm really enjoying it and glad that Chicago has a champion in the Chicago Blackhawks and we're excited about it," said Rick McCain, fan.
The players and their families rode on double-decker buses and trolleys, along with Blackhawks alumni and staff. The parade wound through downtown and ended with a rally at the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue.
Patrick Kane was the last player off the bus carrying their hard fought prize.
"Unreal. Unreal," said Kane.
The Blackhawks took to the podium to thank fans for all the support.
"We've had great moments ups and down but this is by far the greatest thing we did all year is right now. This parade is over the top. Wow, thank you Chicago," said Quenneville.
"When I came here five years ago I never thought I'd be celebrating this quickly," said Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks center.
"Thank you Blackhawk fans! You deserve this. We have been celebrating for two days straight. I thought I had laryngitis. I went to our team doctor, and I said what do you think it is? He said it's a case of Blackhawk fever!" said John McDonough, team president.
Mayor Richard Daley introduced Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Blackhawks.
"Thank you, Mr. Mayor. You throw one hell of a parade," said Wirtz. He thanked the fans and then said, "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We'll see you again."
Fans chanted back, "Thank you, Rocky!"
What are the champion Blackhawks doing next?
"The players are all young. They can't wait to be partying with this thing. I don't think they've had much sleep at all. Hopefully they keep going. I'm too old for that 24/7 ride they're on. I'm going to enjoy it and try to get some sleep along the way," said Quenneville.
A video honored past and present players and Lima Lima planes flew over as the rally began.
For fans, a day to remember
Chicago is home to two Major League Baseball teams, which at times presents areas of sensitivity. But with only one National Hockey League. And, it's been awhile since the Blackhawks of won.
Long before the buses started to roll, the parade route filled up with happy humans and homemade Stanley Cups.
"Home Depot bucket, coffee can, and then my mom's thing and then we spray painted it and put it together," said one parade goer. That 'thing' from his mom is Tupperware. Lord Stanley would approve.
Fans had to line up to get the best view and best seats in the hopes of catching a glimpse of their favorite players.
"Sharpie!" said George Boliecki, who came to the parade with his dad and little brother. The buses rolled by and the boys were covered with confetti.
Fans were 10, 15, and even 30 deep in some places. And once the buses rolled by, the fans followed their pied pipers to a hockey nirvana.
"One of those good things you like to share doesn't come around very often," said Ray Redmer, Blackhawks fan.
Even for the youngest Blackhawks fan, it'll be a day to remember- the excitement, the confetti, the moment.
Moments of chaosWith so many people celebrating on the street on a hot day, there were some moments of chaos.
As the buses carrying Blackhawks players snaked their way into downtown Chicago, thousands of fans burst through barricades to run alongside them.
At one moment a Chicago police officer who was on foot was hit by a fellow officer on an ATV. The fire department says she wasn't seriously hurt.
As for the heat, dozens of fans were overcome by the crush of the crowd and steamy weather conditions.
Overall, fire officials say the emergency calls they received were not life-threatening. And in most cases, fans just needed water and a chance to sit down.
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