Blackhawks bring Stanley Cup home to Chicago
Lord Stanley's Cup - and the champion Chicago Blackhawks - have returned to Chicago.
The team charter landed at O'Hare International Airport at 3:56 a.m., and fittingly, it was team captain Jonathan Toews who exited the plane carrying the cup high overhead.
"It's a cool thing to bring this home," he said surrounded by reporters in the lobby of the charter hangar with the Stanley Cup resting at his feet. "We'll probably parade it around town. It'll be awesome."
The playoff MVP also admitted with a slight smile that the team had quite a party on the charter flight back to Chicago and that the plane probably wasn't in as good a condition as when it took off from Philadelphia at about 1 a.m.
"Yea, the plane is not pretty right now," he said, smiling.
The young and brash Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Wednesday night, ending a 49-year drought by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime at the Wachovia Center on a goal by Patrick Kane.
After celebrating in Philadelphia with a smattering of fans and family members, the Hawks boarded the charter plane 90 minutes later than expected, landing at O'Hare at 3:56 a.m., almost an hour later than their planned 3 a.m. arrival time.
After leaving the plane, Toews walked the cup around to the 50 or so O'Hare personnel, firefighters and police officers that were on hand to see the team's arrival.
Firefighters also gave the team plane a fire hose salute when the plane pulled into the hangar, shooting large streams of water from a water cannon overhead while the plane crossed under.
Fans were not allowed access to the hangar where the Blackhawks landed, but as day broke over Chicago, many fans were lining up on the roadway waiting for team buses to drive by.
Coach Joel Quenneville said he was very proud of his team and claim the plane ride was "a lot of fun."
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"They accomplished a lot. I thought we played our best two games when it counted most," he said. "I'm happy for the fans in Chicago. It was a great night."
The team, with the Cup in hand, went from O'Hare to a private after party at Harry Carey's Restaurant in Rosemont where they stayed until about 6 a.m. It's unclear where they will be heading next.
A parade honoring the team will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
According to a news release from the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communication, the ticker-tape procession and rally will start at Wacker Drive and Washington Street before it proceeds east on Washington to Michigan Avenue, before heading north on Michigan to Wacker Drive.
The rally is scheduled to begin about 11:30 a.m. at Wacker and Michigan.
Additional details are expected by city officials Thursday morning.