Stanley Cup soaks up sun Saturday in Elk Grove Village
Stanley had a pretty cushy ride Saturday through Elk Grove Village.
Basked in sunlight, the Blackhawks championship trophy rode a float a mile down Elk Grove Boulevard while thousands of fans cheered and snapped photographs.
Chicago Blackhawks team president and Elk Grove resident John McDonough stood on one side of it while Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson stood on the other.
Surrounded by police, the group stopped in the middle of the parade to address fans, many of whom set up chairs along the route as early as 8 a.m. Saturday.
"Very early after we won, I called Craig (Johnson) and said I wanted to bring the Stanley Cup home to the people of Elk Grove," said McDonough, who was given key to the city. "Enjoy the offseason."
Johnson also declared Saturday "John McDonough Day" in Elk Grove Village.
That was just fine with Ken Niven, who - before the parade started - walked down the street waving a Blackhawks flag with his son Kyle, 3, on his shoulders. Kyle's twin brother, Jesse, walked alongside his dad and, like many parade goers, the whole family wore Blackhawks T-shirts.
"This is great," said Niven, an Elk Grove resident who also referees hockey. "I know I set up my chairs at 9 a.m."
Mike and Terri Alesi have been going to the Elk Grove parade for decades but said they had never seen a crowd like the one Saturday.
"It's the Cup," said Mike Alesi, who said he occasionally sees McDonough at the Elk Grove Pavilion fitness center working out. "It's basically the same crowd, just a little rowdier maybe."
Following the tradition by which every team member gets one day with the Stanley Cup, Saturday was McDonough's day. He brought the cup to his birthplace, Edison Park, in the afternoon before heading to Elk Grove Village for the town's annual Rotary Fest parade.
McDonough has lived in Elk Grove Village for 26 years and raised three children there with his wife, Karen, who joined him Saturday on the float.
Before the parade, Johnson hosted a private party for McDonough at village hall and barred the media from attending.