The Chicago Blackhawks drew a record-breaking crowd Friday during their victory parade and rally, recording more than two millions fans in the city celebrating the team and their victory.
Holding the Stanley Cup high to thousands of cheering Blackhawks fans, team captain Jonathan Toews described it all as "unbelievable."
"For the guys that were here in 2010, we didn't think there was a chance we could match that performance by the fans," Toews told the crowd, "but you guys did somehow. This shows how unbelievable this city is."
It was a moment throngs of fans waited all morning for.
They gathered in Grant Park hours before gates were scheduled to open for the victory rally planned at Hutchinson Field to celebrate the team's Stanley Cup win. Fans began arriving as early as 1 a.m.
Buses departed the United Center just before 10:30 a.m. to kick off the team's victory parade en route to Grant Park. They made their way east on Washington to North Michigan Avenue, then north to East Randolph Street before traveling east to South Columbus Drive and south to Hutchinson Field.
Chants of "USA, USA" were heard as Jim Cornelison completed the National Anthem. Team leaders and players were announced to raucous applause and cheers.
"We will never waver from our one goal," Hawks CEO and President John McDonough told a sea of red-clad fans.
"To each and every one of you, I can't tell you how proud we are of you," Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz said of the players. "When people ask me what you guys are like, I tell them you're incredible, you're decent young men, a little furry at times but without question, truly gifted athletes."
Chicago police officials estimated Friday's crowd in both the parade and rally to be more than two million people, larger than the 2010 victory celebration.
- 2010: Parade of Champions