This Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup series is a dream matchup for Lee Ann Stawczyk, pitting her favorite hockey team against her second-favorite.
To be sure, Stawczyk insists "I bleed black and red," the Hawks colors. But she has a soft spot for the Bruins; no matter who wins, she says, "I have a parade to go to."
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She wears her enthusiasm on her sleeve -- and her garage door. When the Hawks made the finals three years ago, Stawczyk and a friend hand-painted, using only tiny artist's brushes, a giant Indian head logo on the garage door of Stawczyk's Woodridge home. After the championship win, she painted a Stanley Cup trophy and the year of the Hawks feat. This year, she's freshened up the painting, which still remains, and plans to add a "2013" to the montage should the Hawks claim another Cup.
But that's not enough. She hand-painted the Bruins' logo onto a patio chair. She also did a Hawks logo that covered a bedroom wall of a friend's offspring. And, Friday afternoon, she began spray-painting her lawn with another Hawks logo -- the twin tomahawks crisscrossing the letter "C."
As for the Bruins logo, Stawczyk it's simply a matter of paying homage to her other favorite team. She grew up on the south side of Chicago and lived near Elmer "Moose" Vasko, who played on the Hawks' 1961 championship team. Through Vasko, she met Tony and Phil Esposito. Both hall of famers played for the Hawks, but Phil was traded to the Bruins. The very young Stawczyk might have had a bit of a crush on him, so she followed his career -- and the Bruins.
Rick Maher and his family are on the same page as Stawczyk -- at least as far as the Hawks go. He's been listening to the Hawks as long as he can remember -- well before their games were regularly televised. When the Hawks played the Canadiens for the 1971 Stanley Cup, he recalls sitting at his desk at age 13 listening to his old transistor radio. When the Hawks lost in Game 7, he was heartbroken.
So when they won the Cup in 2010, Maher and his daughters, Christine and Allison, set to work on a 4-foot-tall logo on the garage door of their home in Roselle. The neighbors noticed.
"It was the funniest thing how popular our garage door got," Christine said, recalling people coming in the middle of the night to take pictures.
Painting the large icon freehand was no small feat for Rick. Not only did he have no training -- "I can't even draw stick figures," -- but just weeks before the win, he had surgery on his dominant right thumb. The thick cast limited what he could do.
To make sure the symbol came out right, he drew a grid on a wallet-sized picture and on his garage. After carefully penciling in the outline, he and his daughters set to painting.
He said working as an electrician made him somewhat ambidextrous, but having the help of his daughters made his masterpiece come together. However, he said, if he didn't have his wife's permission, he wouldn't have been able to paint it. "It's really her house," he said with a laugh.
Stawczyk, meanwhile, acknowledges her love of the Hawks might be a shade ... fanatical. But she also says she's not atypical of Chicago fans.
"Chicago is pretty crazy about hockey," she says. "I don't think you're going to run into crazier fans than in Chicago."