Blackhawks fans celebrate peacefully in Wrigleyville

An ABC7 I-Team Report
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands of fans gathered on Clark Street in Wrigleyville Monday night to celebrate the Blackhawks' third Stanley Cup in six years. So far, the large crowd remains peaceful.

PHOTOS: Blackhawks fans celebrate across Chicago


As throngs of people spilled into the streets outside Wrigley Field, Chicago police patrolled on bikes and were not wearing riot gear. Instead of trying to clear the streets with mounted police, the city essentially turned over the streets for about a four-block stretch to the celebrants. As of 11:30 p.m., police began to clear the intersection of Clark and Addison.

Starting at 8 p.m., vehicle access was restricted in the area bounded by Halsted on the east, Grace on the north, Racine on the west and Belmont on the south.

When the Blackhawks won in 2013, Wrigleyville was the area of the city that gave police the most trouble at that time. Police arrested 23 people that night between Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park, most for disorderly conduct and primarily at the scene of a Clark Street standoff between officers and well-lubricated celebrants.

"I know last time the barricades didn't really work," says Calvin Buado, of Clark Street Sports, "so I think they're just going to have extra law enforcement and everything. I think the police on the horse and everything, too."

"The good thing about this year is that you learn from your mistakes," says Zach Strauss, who owns Sluggers. "So from 2013, whatever went wrong, they're going to be able to you know remedy those problems and boost up security and learn from our mistakes."

Chicago police released a statement saying, "While maintaining normal manpower throughout the city, there will be an increased police presence in the areas where fans traditionally gather to celebrate. As always, we are collaborating with all City and outside agencies to make sure fans, residents and communities are able to safely enjoy celebrating, should the hawks clinch the championship tonight."

Tactical units with Chicago police and gang units have had their schedules switched to nights, saturating problem areas with an extra on-the-ground police presence.

A Chicago police officer told the ABC I-Team he is hoping for two things Monday night: first for the Blackhawks to win, and then for big rainstorm that lasts about three hours immediately thereafter.
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