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Faces painted and hoisting homemade Stanley Cups, millions of fans fete Blackhawks

Fans cheer along the parade route wielding homemade Stanley Cups as buses carrying the Chicago Blackhawks pass. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks parade and rally, June 28, 2013
Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews holds up the Stanley Cup as the team's victory parade makes its way down Washington Street. (Charles Rex Arbogast / The Associated Press)
Jonathan Toews holds the Stanley Cup during a victory parade. (Charles Rex Arbogast / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (left) and winger Brandon Saad wave and smile to the crowd. (Scott Eisen / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer as buses carrying the Chicago Blackhawks roll by. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
A fan gets a view from a higher vantage point along the parade route. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer along the parade route. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans wait to get in to Grant Park for a rally following the victory parade for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. (Kiichiro Sato / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer in Grant Park for a rally to honor the Stanley Cup hockey champions Friday, June 28, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) (Kiichiro Sato / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz (left) talks with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the rally in Grant Park. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' captain Jonathan Toews kisses the NHL Stanley Cup during the Grant Park rally. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer in Grant Park during the Grant Park victory rally. (Kiichiro Sato / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford speaks to the thousands of fans. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Michal Rozsival hoists the Stanley Cup as Blackhawks legend Pierre Pilote prepares to take his picture. (M. Spencer Green / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp (right) passes the Stanley Cup to teammate Sheldon Brookbank during the Grant Park victory rally Friday. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane waves to the fans at Grant Park. In the foreground is the Clarence S. Campbell bowl, awarded to the Western Division champions. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Patrick Kane gets his turn with the Stanley Cup. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Viktor Stalberg, of Sweden, holds up the Stanley Cup as teammates Jamal Mayers, left, and Dave Bolland look on during a rally in Grant Park for the NHL Stanley Cup hockey champions Friday, June 28, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (M. Spencer Green / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell holds up the Stanley Cup at the rally in Grant Park. Bickell scored the game-tying goal in Chicago's remarkable late comeback in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins. (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer along the parade route wielding homemade Stanley Cups as buses carrying the Chicago Blackhawks pass. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews holds up the Stanley Cup as the team's victory parade makes its way down Washington Street. - (Charles Rex Arbogast / The Associated Press)
Jonathan Toews holds the Stanley Cup during a victory parade. - (Charles Rex Arbogast / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (left) and winger Brandon Saad wave and smile to the crowd. - (Scott Eisen / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer as buses carrying the Chicago Blackhawks roll by. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
A fan gets a view from a higher vantage point along the parade route. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer along the parade route. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans wait to get in to Grant Park for a rally following the victory parade for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. - (Kiichiro Sato / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer in Grant Park for a rally to honor the Stanley Cup hockey champions Friday, June 28, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) - (Kiichiro Sato / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz (left) talks with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the rally in Grant Park. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' captain Jonathan Toews kisses the NHL Stanley Cup during the Grant Park rally. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Fans cheer in Grant Park during the Grant Park victory rally. - (Kiichiro Sato / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford speaks to the thousands of fans. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Michal Rozsival hoists the Stanley Cup as Blackhawks legend Pierre Pilote prepares to take his picture. - (M. Spencer Green / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp (right) passes the Stanley Cup to teammate Sheldon Brookbank during the Grant Park victory rally Friday. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane waves to the fans at Grant Park. In the foreground is the Clarence S. Campbell bowl, awarded to the Western Division champions. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Patrick Kane gets his turn with the Stanley Cup. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Viktor Stalberg, of Sweden, holds up the Stanley Cup as teammates Jamal Mayers, left, and Dave Bolland look on during a rally in Grant Park for the NHL Stanley Cup hockey champions Friday, June 28, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) - (M. Spencer Green / The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell holds up the Stanley Cup at the rally in Grant Park. Bickell scored the game-tying goal in Chicago's remarkable late comeback in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins. - (Nam Y. Huh / The Associated Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/6/2013 (1402 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CHICAGO - From the jubilant parade all the way to the boisterous rally, millions of excited fans spent a sun-drenched Friday celebrating another Stanley Cup title for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dressed mostly in red and black, they came out to say thanks for the memories. Turns out, captain Jonathan Toews and Co. wanted to return the favour.

Chicago Blackhawks' fans takes pictures as Jonathan Toews and the Stanley Cup pass by during a victory parade down Washington Street Friday, June 28, 2013 in Chicago. The Blackhawks celebrate the team's second championship in four years. (AP Photo/Scott Eisen)

Chicago Blackhawks' fans takes pictures as Jonathan Toews and the Stanley Cup pass by during a victory parade down Washington Street Friday, June 28, 2013 in Chicago. The Blackhawks celebrate the team's second championship in four years. (AP Photo/Scott Eisen)

"This shows how unbelievable this city is," Toews said, addressing the rapt crowd at Grant Park. "Unbelievable. Thank you."

The Blackhawks rode to the rally in red, open-topped buses, passing waving and screaming fans of every age as the parade travelled from the United Center to the downtown party. Toews hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head to show it off to the crowd, which was cooled by large water misters placed along the route with temperatures in the low 80s.

One of the many signs read "Thank you, guys" on the top line and "Best 17 seconds of my life" for the second part — referring to the pair of late goals that lifted the Blackhawks to a 3-2 title-clinching victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night. And there was at least one expression of love for Andrew Shaw, the hardscrabble forward who required stitches on his face after he was hit by a puck Monday.

It was the second championship in four seasons for the Blackhawks, and authorities thought Friday's crowd was even heartier than the 2 million that came out in 2010.

"What do you say we get back here and do it again next year?" forward Patrick Sharp said to a big cheer at the rally.

The Grant Park crowd also enjoyed a brief but colorful speech by normally reserved goaltender Corey Crawford, who drew wide grins and chuckles from his teammates.

"It's tough to follow that speech by Corey Crawford," Toews said after he carried the Cup onto the stage.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said 42 people were taken to hospitals with heat-related health problems. He also said 20 people jumped into a restricted part of Lake Michigan and the fire department made sure that all 20 came out of the water.

The massive crowd at the park grew steadily all morning long, with the most ardent supporters camping out overnight, ready to sprint to the big stage the minute police swung the barriers aside. By the time buses delivered the players and their families, the park was packed.

Some fans brought along homemade versions of the Stanley Cup, including one fashioned from an empty beer keg. Twenty-somethings Courtney Baldwin and Meghan O'Kane, from the city's suburbs, slapped together their tribute from a jumble of jugs and plastic bowls painted grey.

It was empty Friday morning, but Baldwin said they planned to fill it with an adult beverage in the afternoon — a common occurrence for the actual silver trophy over the past week.

One fan who dashed to the front near the stage was Michael Wilczynski, a 26-year-old sales associate from the suburbs. His father took him to his first game and they partied together downtown after the last Stanley Cup victory.

"My dad died in February. We came to 2010. I'm not going to miss this. I had to be here," he said.

The Blackhawks gave the city something to celebrate as the Cubs and White Sox grind through another lost summer. And fans took note.

"We love the Blackhawks. This is history and this is a championship, unlike the Cubs," O'Kane said, taking a shot at a team that hasn't won a World Series since 1908.

The franchise's fifth Stanley Cup was the culmination of a banner season for the Blackhawks, who set an NHL record when they recorded at least one point in the first 24 games — half of the lockout-shortened schedule. They finished with the best record in the league.

The dramatic Game 6 victory in Boston sparked a raucous party in parts of Chicago. Fans poured out of bars after the thrilling finish and celebrated in the streets in the several neighbourhoods.

Sarah Schmidt, 22, who grew up in Chicago and made the pilgrimage to Friday's celebrations from Milwaukee, told her boss she was taking the day off no matter what. She hoped her bartending gig would still be there when the party was over.

"I can't miss this," she said.

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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