For the third time in six years, Blackhawks fans have jammed into downtown Chicago to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship team.
Some people camped out for hours along the parade route to get a glimpse of their favorite players — and favorite trophy — passing by.
A lucky 61,500-or-so got into Soldier Field, where they endured the rain and waiting in the humidity for their heroes to arrive.
The city estimated the overall crowd at 2 million people along the parade route and at Soldier Field.
Many wore sweaters of their favorite players, which always is acceptable in Chicago, and others put ketchup on their hot dogs, which is not.
Others passed the time by doing The Wave or taking selfies. Plenty of children were also sporting their own — inflatable — Stanley Cups.
Follow here for live updates and video streams from the downtown parade and the rally at Soldier Field.
Fans are waiting outside Soldier Field where buses full of players will come out. pic.twitter.com/rDFhYu9q3c— Tina Sfondeles (@TinaSfon) June 18, 2015
Toews: "maybe the only way it does get better is if we win four." pic.twitter.com/6T8ayFZXeP— Tina Sfondeles (@TinaSfon) June 18, 2015
Buddies Matthew Reyes, 33, Roberto Braulio, 36, and Guadalupe Reyes, 33, whooped it up as they walked proudly waving their full-size Blackhawks flag. “If you’re from Chicago, you had to be here today. We had to represent, you know?” said Guadalupe Reyes. “Yeah, we had to come celebrate the championship, but also we had to let the team know that we gotta go for the fourth Cup now. Give us a fourth!” “The best part if being out here is seeing everybody having fun in a safe way,” said Matthew Reyes. “No drama.” UPDATE: 12:16 p.m.
The Gonzalez family of Bolingbrook were getting a lot of attention near the end of the parade route. That’s because 15-year-old Jennifer accompanied siblings Kaira, 24, and Frankie, 9, dressed in the furry costume of talking the teddy bear “Ted,” from the movie and sequel of the same name. Given the sweltering heat, donning a furry costume showed commitment. “Hey, anything to support our Blackhawks,” said Jennifer, who couldn’t go two feet without getting stopped for hugs, high-fives or a photo. “I’m just trying to bring more spirit, and who doesn’t love Ted?” the teen said. “It’s been great. I got to see the team and meet a lot of new people ’cause I keep getting stopped.” UPDATE: 12:01 p.m.
Stephen Covart and Corrine Peterson, both 22, of Crystal Lake, lugged a homemade rendition if the Stanley Cup, figuring if they couldn’t get close to the Cup in Soldier Field, they’d bring their own. “We were just so sick of seeing all the people that tried to make [a copy of the Cup] and they didn’t do a good job,” said Covart. “We wanted to make one as realistic as possible, and everyone’s been coming up to us to take a picture with it, so I think we did a pretty good job.” So what was so worthwhile about standing two hours in the stifling crowd at Monroe and Michigan? “I got to see Corey Crawford,” said Peterson. “That’s all that mattered.”
DEHYDRATED: Heat, humidity have some at parade ailing
UPDATE: 11:35 a.m.
Christian Migliareuse, of Hawthorn Woods, who uses a wheelchair, was brought to the parade by his sister, Jacqueline. “I had to come to support the Blackhawks,” he said. “I think they have a real dynasty here. Coach Q has done a lot for not only the team, but for the city, just really brought hockey back to Chicago. To see where the Hawks were before, and the turnaround to where they are now, is inspiring.” UPDATE: 11:18 a.m. Linda and John Flanagan only had to walk a few blocks to their spot under some trees on Washington, though they would have traveled farther. “I told my boss in November, ‘I’m just telling you, the day of the Blackhawks parade I won’t be in,’” Linda said. UPDATE: 11:17 a.m. The Chicago Public Schools were definitely short some students Thursday, as many parents took their kids to the parade. Julian and Gabriel Holowka missed classes with an “excused absence for a family event,” said their mother, Nancy Holowka. The Holowkas couldn’t get tickets to the Soldier Field rally, but the longer length of the parade made it easier for them to go. “We were thinking we weren’t going to [go to the parade]. You gotta get there pretty early, and we are not the people who are going to get up at 4 in the morning,” she said. UPDATE: 11:16 a.m.
Packed Soldier Field awaiting Hawks. pic.twitter.com/2tG0ovFtZY— Tina Sfondeles (@TinaSfon) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 10:28 a.m.
UPDATE: 10:24 a.m.
Darryl Martin and Peggy Mann work downtown and caught a cab out toward the stadium.
“It means everything,” Martin said. “It’s the ultimate goal in hockey. It’s not that often to get a championship three times in six years. We really should have been four times.”
“I’m a fair weather fan,” Mann said, “but I’ve been watching them and I just had to be down here. The energy is going to be outrageous. It already was, just walking here.”
UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.
Karen and George Petraitis came in from Beverly.
“I went to the other two,” Karen Petraitis said. “The first time I went by myself. It was about 100 degrees that day. The second time he went with me.”
Things were a little cooler this year — and the crowd, it seemed to them, was getting younger.
“We figured we’d do it again while we can still walk. We’re probably the oldest people here,” Karen Petraitis said, laughing.
They couldn’t get tickets to the rally, “but we’ll be alright watching it from the parking lot,” Karen Petraitis said.
“Chicago gets a bad rap. This is a really nice city and we’ve lived here our whole lives.”
UPDATE: 10:14 a.m.
A bunch of office workers watching from the third floor of their building pic.twitter.com/SWiUbpS8l2— Diana Novak Jones (@dhnovak) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 9:55 a.m. At least one person in Chicago was at the parade route, but not to celebrate. Richard Kochan Sr., 65, was on his way to the pharmacy to get some medication when he encountered a metal barrier and a sea of red and black at Sangamon and Washington. And he was furious. “Gee, folks, go home!” he yelled. “Watch it on TV. What’s the big deal?” Kochan said he needed his heart medication and was threatening to sue the city if he wasn’t allowed to cross the street. “I love Chicago and I love Chicago sports, but this is stupid,” he said, his arms crossed defiantly over his chest. Eventually, a policeman strolled over and tried to calm Kochan, quietly explaining how and where he could cross. UPDATE: 9:51 a.m. It’s a decidedly family-friendly scene at Washington and Racine before the parade starts. Many fans have been here since before 8 a.m., waiting for a glimpse of the Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup. Bradley Hulten brought his daughter Olivia and two of her friends at the last minute. The girls go to Chicago Public Schools, where they have just two more days of school — but they’re playing hooky to see the parade. Tim Gerster and his son Miles, 8, got to Washington and Racine at 8 a.m. They had 10 people trying to get them tickets to the Soldier Field rally, but weren’t able to get any. “This is the next best thing,” Tim Gerster said. “As long a you see [the Stanley Cup], that’s what counts.” UPDATE: 9:46 a.m.
Some happy vuvuzela customers pic.twitter.com/Q4VJAELtxZ— Diana Novak Jones (@dhnovak) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 9:40 a.m.
Cheers, air horns from streets below could be heard in a fed courtroom this morning where an attorney appeared - in a #Blackhawks jersey.— Jon Seidel (@SeidelContent) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 9:38 a.m.
UPDATE: 9:28 a.m.
Plenty of people still arriving, lots of space to watch the parade still pic.twitter.com/1euTRgYWIL— Diana Novak Jones (@dhnovak) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 9:01 a.m.
UPDATE: 8:56 a.m.
UPDATE: 8:49 a.m.
Things have apparently gone downhill since the last Stanley Cup celebration:
A Cadillac just came down the parade route with the Cup on top. The real thing? No. A silver garbage can with a bowl on top.— stefano esposito (@slesposito) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 8:38 a.m.
UPDATE: 8:36 a.m.
Ten-year-old Gabby Lepore twisted from side to side with her hands in her pockets, unable to say why she’s such a big fan of Jonathan Toews.
So her mother, Jessica Lepore, stepped in.
“She thinks he’s cute — she’s not going to tell you,” said the Norridge mother.
Gabby, who plays hockey herself — in Park Ridge, for the Northern Express — clarified as she stood along the parade route at Washington and Racine.
“He gets the team riled up,” Gabby said. “He gets them ready for the game. He gets them focused.”
UPDATE: 8:30 a.m.
UPDATE: 8:28 a.m.
UPDATE: 8:22 a.m.
Ponchos and trash bags are the order of the morning as a storm quickly approaches downtown Chicago and the Blackhawks parade route.
Skies are darkening and the ponchos are coming out along the Blackhawks parade route. Spirits dampened? Of course not pic.twitter.com/FvXceR9cPB— stefano esposito (@slesposito) June 18, 2015
UPDATE: 8:15 a.m.
A severe storm warning was issued as a cell took aim at downtown Chicago, including the areas where people are gathering for the parade and Soldier Field. Caution is issued.
UPDATE: 7:50 a.m.
Carmen Rogers, 52, and her daughter, Theresa, 28, drove in from Jeffersonville, Ind. — that’s at the southern tip of the state, about 300 miles away.
They spent a few not particularly restful hours sleeping in their Dodge Dart.
Don’t ask them if it’s worth it. Of course it is. They snagged a prime spot at Racine and Washington — beneath a shady tree.
“I was here for the 2013 Cup,” Carmen Rogers said. “Here we are again.”
And who are they dying to see today?
“We gotta go with (Patrick) Kane,” Carmen Rogers said. “He’s the one who won us the first Cup. (Corey) Crawford is a close second because without Corey Crawford we wouldn’t have won the Cup.”
CONTRIBUTING: Stefano Esposito, Diana Novak Jones, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Jordyn Holman
UPDATE: 7:41 a.m.
Severe weather popped up to threaten early arrivers downtown – showers are expected early, then near the end of the rally.
UPDATE: 7:36 a.m.
Metra trains were jammed with fans headed downtown, causing delays and some trains to go express.