- Associated Press - Saturday, October 29, 2016

BRADLEY, Ill. (AP) - It was seven hours before the Chicago Blackhawks opened their season, and Russell Pedersen already was predicting a Stanley Cup victory - with a little fresh ink at Darkside Tattoo in Bradley.

On Oct. 13, the 50-year-old union plumber from Momence had “2017” added to his Stanley Cup trophy tattoo, which displays the years of the Hawks’ six championships. He did the same thing before the 2012-13 playoffs and before the 2014-15 season, and the Hawks came through both times.

“I have the same feeling now that I had back in 2015,” Pedersen said, while getting his new ink. “It’s just my blind devotion to the Blackhawks. I have faith in them.”

Pedersen’s confidence in this year’s team has nothing to do with the fact that the Hawks have six rookies on their starting roster. It all stems from the masterminds behind the roster.

“I trust Coach (Joel) Quenneville and General Manger (Stan) Bowman,” Pedersen reasoned. “They have really stocked the team. They know what they are doing, and I think that is where we have the upper hand. There’s so much parity in the league, but those two guys have proven themselves with three Cups to their names.”

Las Vegas has tabbed Chicago as the favorite to win this year’s Stanley Cup at 6-to-1 odds. And if Pedersen’s tattoo history has any input, the Hawks will win their fourth Cup since 2010.

What happens if the they don’t? Well, it’s fairly easy to turn “2017” into “2018” or “2019.”

“I’ve definitely seen people take way bigger risks with tattoos,” said Dave Faford, who added to Pedersen’s tattoo. “The biggest risk is getting someone’s name tattooed on you. We can definitely fix the 2017 if it doesn’t work out, but hopefully, it does.”

Pedersen also is a Chicago Cubs fan, but don’t expect him to run to the tattoo parlor if they end their 108-year World Series drought this fall.

“I’m a hockey guy,” he said. “When I die and go to heaven, I’d like to listen to Nirvana and watch the Blackhawks for the rest of eternity.”

But, Pedersen certainly hopes to keep adding to his Stanley Cup tattoo, which now stretches from his right bicep down to his elbow.

“I don’t care if it goes all the way down to my hand and continues on the back side of my arm,” he said. “The Hawks are my favorite team in the world. I stuck with them through the dry spells and have enjoyed their recent Cup wins. I’m a lifelong fan.”

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Source: The (Kankakee) Daily Journal, https://bit.ly/2exuPMo

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Information from: The Daily Journal, https://www.daily-journal.com

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