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CHICAGO (AP) — Finally, a championship celebration at Wrigley Field.
The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks paraded around the old ballpark to loud cheers during a ceremony before the Chicago Cubs‘ game against the crosstown White Sox on Sunday night.
The Blackhawks, who beat the Flyers in Game 6 on Wednesday night in Philadelphia to claim their first championship since 1961, hoisted the Cup, passed it among themselves, and high-fived fans as they made their way around Wrigley. The crowd roared when coach Joel Quenneville held it up behind home plate and booed when he passed it off to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Blackhawks president and longtime Cubs marketing executive John McDonough threw out the ceremonial first pitch — and bounced it. Jim Cornelison got drowned out by cheering fans as he performed the national anthem, just as he does before hockey games at United Center.
“It’s something you dream all along,” Kane, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime, said after the pregame festivities.
The Blackhawks gave Chicago plenty to cheer about, taking some of the focus off a dreary baseball season. An estimated 2 million fans turned out Friday in downtown Chicago for a ticker-tape parade and ceremony.
On Sunday, the Blackhawks came in through a gate in the right-field corner, with captain Jonathan Toews hoisting the cup. Their unofficial theme song “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis blasted through the stadium as the team slowly made its way around the field.
They celebrated with fans along the left-field line as Queen’s “We Are the Champions” played, and Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee walked over to shake hands with Toews.
Kane put his arm around teammate Brian Campbell and waved while standing near the third-base dugout.
While the team gathered by the mound, Quenneville paraded the cup behind the plate from the third-base dugout to the first-base dugout as the crowd roared. The boos were reserved for Guillen, who said the championship parade for his team in 2005 “was better.”
The Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908, so championship trophies are a rare sight at Wrigley Field. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, a Canadian, couldn’t resist the urge to kiss the Cup and hoist it after McDonough threw out the first pitch.
When the rest of the Blackhawks walked back toward the right-field gate following the national anthem, Sharp had one more thing to do. He took a lead from first and stole second, sliding feet first into the bag before leaving the field.
“It’s amazing to see how happy people are getting around town, especially when they see that Cup,” Sharp said. “I knew it would be exciting, but I had no idea it would be like this. It’s been an absolute circus everywhere we’ve gone, and everyone wants to celebrate with us. That’s the best part about it.”
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