Fans on hunt for the Cup in Chicago

June 10, 2010 4:39:07 PM PDT
Fans were out in full force overnight after the Chicago Blackhawks clinched the championship, ending 49 years of frustration.

Chicagoans were playing "Where's Waldo?" with the Blackhawks team and the Cup Thursday.

At the Palace Grill near the United Center, a Blackhawks' assistant coach pulled up in a limo Thursday and praised the city.

"I can't even speak about it, it's been outstanding. I'm happy for the city," Coach Mike Haviland said.

"Extremely exciting somebody showed up here. We just wanted to try to get to talk to them and celebrate the moment," said fan Robert Alvarado.

Inside the Grill, the magic moment lived on.

"We're still on this great high of the win, we're so excited. We have been waiting the whole season. We knew they were going to do it. We just wanted it to be last night," said van Tracy Giunta.

"Wife thinks we're nuts, neighbors think we're crazy -- no cops at the house yet, but the day is still early," said fan Joe Leuze.

"It's an historic moment that's been nearly 50 years since chicago captured the cup.

"I was 2 years old in '61, waited all these years. Last night, spent it at Kroll's and spent it with all my friends and my lovely wife," said fan Dave Zednik.

"They don't believe they're better than anybody. They're just down-home guys that make it. They're wonderful, wonderful people," said George Lemperis, Palace Grill Owner

It's a team with hardware, even if a fake Cup is spotted here and there.

"I live 175 steps that way, I rolled out of bed with this still on and I came right here. And I'm waiting for one more mimosa and I'm going to go follow Patrick Kane in a cab," said fan Will Scarleski. "I've caught a glimpse; I want to touch the Cup."

Scarleski then jumped in a cab, literally, and he's off and hunting for the Cup. He's not alone, too. Many fans want to have at least a touch, a glimpse of that cup.

When asked about the Cup's whereabouts, Haviland said, "Honestly, I don't know." When asked where the players were, Haviland said, "You know what? They're probably all in bed by now."

Revelers get an early start

At the Harry Caray's in Rosemont outside of the Holiday Inn there was a lot of excitement and action at 5:30 a.m. Thursday at a private celebration for the team. The family, friends and fans were cheering on the Blackhawk players who stopped in and greeted their supporters.

Fans were trying to get autographs as limos pulled up to take the players from the restaurant. There are several fans, all with their 'hawks jerseys, waiting and cheering for the players to walk in and out.

The Stanley Cup champions landed at O'Hare International Airport on a charter flight at 4 a.m. And they held the cup up high on the tarmac. Blackhawks players celebrated from the ice in Philly to the sky and back to Chicago.

"It is just our way of getting the party started. We're happy to be here," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

"I'm happy for the guys. I'm so proud to be around such a great group of kids. I'm happy for the fans in Chicago it's a great night," said Coach Joel Quenneville.

"I wanted them to win at home, but if they win, I'm happy 100 percent. No matter what, as long as they won, it's amazing,' said fan Jamie McNulty.

Fans mobbed Madison Street near the United Center Wednesday night. They screamed and jumped in sports bars like the West End on the Near West Side and 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. Fans also flooded North Clark Street between Sheffield and Addison, shutting it down to traffic.

About 100 fans with their Blackhawks jerseys stayed awake to cheer on the players in Rosemont Thursday morning.

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