Blackhawks honored at Wrigley

Updated: June 14, 2010, 1:14 AM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- A world championship has finally been celebrated at Wrigley Field

The only problem for the Chicago Cubs, who haven't won a World Series since 1908, is that it was the Chicago Blackhawks who were the object of everyone's affection.

The freshly minted Stanley Cup champs were honored before Sunday night's Cubs-White Sox game as fans from all across the city were given another chance to cheer for their beloved hockey team. Red and black jerseys, flags and sweaters dotted the stands at the old ballpark on Clark and Addison.

[+] EnlargeStanley Cup
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhThe Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox pose with the Stanley Cup at Wrigley Field.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews led his teammates onto the field carrying the cup, as they entered from behind a gate in the right field wall. The players paraded down the outfield warning track as their familiar anthem, "Chelsea Dagger," by The Fratellis blared through the loud speakers.

"It's really unbelievable to be a part of," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "The fans are unbelievable no matter where you are. It's baseball, you get to come out and you still get a great cheer for us. It's really unbelievable to be a part of."

Kane and company continued the celebration by high-fiving fans down the left-field line as both Cubs and Sox players stood in front of their respective dugouts to shake hands with the new champions.

"I got tears in my eyes when [Kane] put the puck in the net," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before the game. "I don't know nothing about hockey. I don't even know the players' names. I watch a couple games and I love it and have fun. But I got flashbacks [about] what those guys feel right now, how they love each other right now, how they're the best.

"Things change. I had tears in my eyes, because nothing is better than winning. Especially in Chicago, where people are hungry to have winning teams. It's a great experience when you win."

Kane realizes that he and his teammates are a part of something special right now.

"It hasn't really sunk in to be honest with you," he said. "But things like this and the parade and different things really help it sink in. I think it's something you dream of all along, but we've obviously achieved the same story. Ozzie just told me the same story. It's pretty amazing to hear from a guy like that."

Several Blackhawks players came to Wrigley Field wearing Cubs hats, but a few took them off while receiving congratulations from Guillen out of respect for the veteran manager.

After the handshakes finished, the Blackhawks came together on the mound with the Cup standing at the top of the hill. Toews passed the ceremonial pitch honors to Blackhawks president, and former Cubs executive John McDonough.

After McDonough tossed the ball on a hop to Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, the Canadian right hander lifted the Cup over his head to the cheers of many in the stands. Both teams congregated on the mound for a picture with the Cup front and center, giving Chicago fans a memory they won't soon forget.

"It's been great," veteran forward Marian Hossa hoarsely said. "It's been great. Not enough sleep, but we're enjoying every minute."

For many, the pregame celebration was complete after Blackhawks' fixture Jim Cornelison belted another stirring rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" to the delight of Cubs and Sox fans alike.

Kane, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp led the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.

"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."

For Hossa, the entire experience of the last few days has been a dream.

"It's been even better than I thought."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls and Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com. ESPNChicago.com's Jon Greenberg contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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