The Chicago Blackhawks gathered for their big celebration on Thursday afternoon at Soldier Field, and as has become tradition, the team took to the microphones on stage to thank fans for their support.
“2010 was special. 2013 was special. But there’s nothing like winning the Cup on home ice in front of you guys,” winger Patrick Sharp said.
The Blackhawks clinched the Stanley Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938 with their 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night. Ever since that triumph at the United Center, the team has been parading the trophy around the city, and they held their celebratory parade through the streets of Chicago to give fans a taste of the frenzied party.
“It’s our life’s work to make you proud, Blackhawks President John McDonough said. “Today as we celebrate the third Stanley Cup in six seasons, I wanted to reiterate that our goal will always be to reward your allegiance to the Chicago Blackhawks.”
The celebration kicked off with a parade through the streets of Chicago. Players rode on double-decker buses (just as they have the previous two seasons), and Brent Seabrook carried the Stanley Cup while Patrick Kane rode on the final bus of the parade waving at fans. The Clarence Campbell Bowl (given to the Western Conference champion) and the Conn Smythe Trophy also made appearances on the buses.
The Blackhawks’ run of three championships in six seasons is unprecedented in the salary cap era, with teams continuously being forced to retool because of the limited money they’re allowed to spend. Despite those obstacles, the Blackhawks expressed confidence during the celebration that they could be standing on stage again next season.
“Let’s keep this red machine rolling baby! Let’s do it again, eh? Four sounds better than three!” Duncan Keith yelled to the massive crowd at Soldier Field.
That desire for more championships will certainly be complicated by the roster decisions that the team will need to make moving forward. Players like Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger will be due for raises next season, and with new contracts kicking in for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, certain players may have to be traded away to make room.
That could mean that players like Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw, and fan favorites like Sharp could be on the move. None of that was on the minds of the fans and players on Thursday however as the team continued to raucously celebrate their championship.
"We know we're a part of the best organization in sports in the entire world," Toews said. "And we play for the best fans in the world. The only way it does get better is if we win four. Let's go."