This postseason, Blackhawks fans endured tense games, overtimes and an exciting final minute and a half. But before they could rest, they had to endure one more thing: the merchandise line.
Along with jerseys and other championship gear, many wanted to get their hands on the official Stanley Cup hats that players wore during Tuesday's celebration on the ice in Boston. And they were willing to spend hours standing inside and outside of sporting goods stores waiting for delivery trucks to bring new supplies.
"We just want to match the players, and it's a big deal to have it at the parade with everyone else," Mount Prospect resident Carolyn Niersbach said as she waited in line at the Sports Authority store at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.
Along with the hats, fans were eager to get the Stanley Cup championship jerseys like the ones donned by the players in the locker room, as well as T-shirts bearing the new title.
Local sporting goods stores started stocking Hawks gear right after the team's victory Monday night. Many stores reopened later that night so fans could taste victory for themselves.
"The showing of fans was incredible. The lines outside our doors was nothing I've ever seen before," said Jeremiah Zimmer, senior marketing manager at Dick's Sporting Goods. Lines of fans ringed the stores in at least four store locations, he added.
The Sports Authority store in Crystal Lake stayed open late after the game and then opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday, four hours early, Manager Sandy Baum said.
At midday Tuesday, the Lombard Sports Authority was waiting for reinforcements. "We've got four or five trucks coming in right now bringing more merchandise," sales team member Phil Kling said. "It's been nonstop all day."
Many Hawks fans found stores quickly sold out of the merchandise they wanted. But they were patient. When the Mount Prospect Sports Authority ran out of hats around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, a line started forming that stretched from the entrance to almost the back of the store. Some fans waited for more than two hours until a delivery truck arrived.