Chicago Blackhawks celebrate Stanley Cup with parade, rally

CHICAGO -- There would be no rain on the Blackhawks' championship parade Thursday.

The weather threatened the team's Stanley Cup celebration, but rain ceased less than an hour before the Blackhawks boarded 10 double-decker buses at the United Center and made their way through Chicago's downtown and to Soldier Field for a rally.

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, who did interviews while carrying an umbrella, was grateful for the fans' support.

"What you see is the outpouring and support of the fans and how great they've been," Wirtz said outside the United Center. "It just shows they're coming down. They know what the weather's like. They're boarding trains at four and five in the morning and camping out all night. It just shows ... how the players have been able to touch a number of people."

The city of Chicago said Friday that about 2 million people attended the parade and rally and that 41 people were treated by the Chicago Fire Department, mostly for heat issues.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane appeared exhausted after a few days of nearly nonstop celebration, but he was still excited to take part in his third Stanley Cup parade and rally.

"We've done this a couple times before, but it's still unexpected what's actually going to happen during the parade," Kane said before boarding a bus. "It's always an adrenaline rush and looking forward to it. ... That thing, wherever you bring the Stanley Cup, it's going to draw a crowd and draw attention. Wherever we seem to go, especially with that thing, people seem to flood and try to come out and see everything."

Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp carried the Stanley Cup out of the United Center and boarded a bus with teammates Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner also joined the parade.

An estimated crowd of more than 2 million attended the Blackhawks' parade and Grant Park rally after winning the Stanley Cup in 2013. The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups in the past six years.

"Let's do it again, eh?" Keith said later in the day. "Four sounds better than three."

Keith wasn't the only one with this sentiment.

"Maybe the only way it does get better is if we win four. Let's go," said captainJonathan Toews, who didn't have much of his voice left.

Wirtz was right behind his players.

"You, our fans, are the reason we want to keep the Cup home," Wirtz said. "Our one goal now is 'Let's stay at home. Let's do it again and let's get four.'"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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