Art Institute Lions Roar for Blackhawks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCChicago.com

    It doesn’t happen very often, Chicago’s most visible mascots donning the gear of a team vying for a championship.

    The bronze lions that guard the entrance to the Art Institute on Wednesday were decked out in Blackhawks helmets. It underlines the high expectations of fans waiting 49 years for a Stanley Cup victory.

    "A prediction, a sweep, if they can play the way they know how to play, it should be no problem for them," said Hall of Fame Blackhawk Bobby Hull at today’s ceremony.

    It’s just the latest sign that a city divided by baseball loyalties is united backing the hawks. Even the top of the Willis Tower turned red when they clinched the conference finals.

    "This is amazing, the toughest ticket in town and so it should be," he said, adding that it's a far cry from the last time the Blackhawks won the Cup in 1961.

    "There were just 6 teams back then and only four teams got in the playoffs, so there wasn’t a whole lot of hullabaloo about it," he said.

    The Art Institute has only honored handful of teams, including the White Sox World Series Winners in 2005 and the Bears Super Bowl Champs in 1986.

    "You’re this close, you better get it won because you never know what’s going to happen from here on in. When you get this close, get it in the bag," Hull said.