Blackhawks fans in 'burbs, beyond celebrate 'hockey at its finest'
The celebration began instantly as time expired on Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center.
As quickly as goalie Corey Crawford could throw off his helmet, fans erupted into cheers of joy about the Chicago Blackhawks' third Stanley Cup Championship in six years.
"Sweet Home Chicago" played over the arena loudspeakers as fans in suburban living rooms, basements and bars broke into festive screams to mark the Hawks' success.
At Coach's Corner in Elk Grove Village, patrons cheered as "Chelsea Dagger," the Hawks' goal celebration song, blared. Someone even sprayed the crowd with champagne from the bar.
Magdalena Paszkowska celebrated the win with a group of friends she'd known since high school.
"I'm glad we got to experience this together and watch the home team win and bring the Cup back," she said.
The celebratory atmosphere began even before the third period, as fans started to feel a good thing coming when Duncan Keith scored late in the second to put the Blackhawks on the board. When Patrick Kane put one in the net deep in the third, essentially securing the Blackhawks' win, it was bedlam. Fans in the Corner screamed and cheered and slapped high-fives.
"It's not over yet," Elk Grove's Kelly Butcher said as the seconds ticked down, "but I'm pretty excited."
And then it was over.
The team claimed victory in a 2-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, adding to recent Stanley Cup championships in 2013 and 2010. TV announcers called the Hawks' winning ways a "dynasty."
At Bannerman's Sports Grill in Bartlett, a replica Stanley Cup made by Jerry Negele was hoisted into the bar at the very moment the clock ran out.
Negele said he shared the anxiety most felt about celebrating too early, but he always felt this Stanley Cup series deserved to go to the Hawks.
"There's no doubt, these teams are hockey at its finest," said Negele, sporting a feather headdress and a large brass-colored letter B on a chain around his neck. "But I think our play has been a notch above and our sportsmanship has been superior."
Bartlett fan Joe Porto said he had a practical reason to want to see the Blackhawks clinch Monday, as well as a passionate one -- he's going on vacation Wednesday.
And while he knew he'd have been able to watch the game in Wisconsin, it just wouldn't have been the same away from Bannerman's.
"It's huge, which is why so many people come here," he said.
The bar is owned by Murray Friedman, but named for the nickname he once acquired for sharing the same first name as retired Blackhawks goalie Murray Bannerman.
"We're probably the No. 1 Hawks bar in the western suburbs," Friedman said.
The first people were seated for Monday's game at 3:30 p.m. and all tables were filled more than an hour before the puck dropped. From the National Anthem to each major play, the crowd at Bannerman's reacted as if the giant TV screens were windows of a United Center skybox.
With 90 seconds left in the game, an announcer urged the crowd to stay respectful -- and it did. People stayed frozen watching the presentation of the real Stanley Cup before filing calmly out to the parking lot.
• Daily Herald staff writer Marie Wilson contributed to this report.