A Saturday viewing of the Stanley Cup at Trickster Art Gallery in Schaumburg also served as a history lesson about Native American culture and the man who inspired the Chicago Blackhawks logo.
As the crowd wended its way through the gallery, they read about Makatai Meshe Kiakiak, or Blackhawk, a war chief who led men from the Sauk and Fox tribes into battle against Illinois settlers during the Black Hawk War of 1832, according to information at the gallery.
Blackhawk was captured after the war and attracted large crowds when he was brought east in 1833. He died in 1838 and became a folk hero and legend who was respected for defending his land.
"Blackhawk is an individual, and he was a veteran and a leader," said Joseph Podlasek of Itasca, the gallery's chief operating officer and member of the Ojibwe tribe.
The gallery, the only Native American owned and operated arts institution in the state, has a special relationship with the Blackhawks hockey team that started with the team's NHL championship win in 2010. The team allowed the gallery to host a viewing of the cup, just like it did Saturday, Podlasek said.
"It's a great relationship where we're telling a new side of the Blackhawks," Podlasek said.
When the line continued to move forward, the crowd spotted autographed Blackhawks jerseys, read about Native American military veterans and saw team photos from the playoffs.
They also saw the feathered staff that the gallery's Native American veterans held on the ice at the beginning of every playoff game for the Blackhawks.
People started lining up at the gallery at 6 a.m., and more than 1,000 were expected to come for the viewing.
Among them were Tom and Linda Zielinski of Schaumburg, who have been married for 41 years and appreciated what they learned Saturday.
They were supposed to see the Stanley Cup during their honeymoon in Canada at the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it was closed the day they got there. Saturday, the couple waited more than two hours in line to pose with the cup.
"I wasn't going to miss it this time; it's been a dream of mine to see the cup," Tom Zielinski said. "I'm thrilled to death."
Saturday marked one of the final public viewings -- for now -- of the Stanley Cup, according to Mike Bolt, one of the keepers of the cup. It heads back to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto after Oct. 30.