Constable: Tattoos join parade of Hawks' keepsakes
Topped by those hard-to-find Chicago Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup Champions hats, Joe Regalado and Brian Arndt can watch today's parade while wearing something nobody else has -- their matching one-of-a-kind tattoos incorporating the Blackhawks feathers and the Stanley Cup.
"He makes it unique for us, which is awesome," Regalado, 30, who grew up in Roselle, says of the tattoo created by Jaime Ozman of Rising Phoenix Tattoo in Addison.
The day after the Blackhawks won the championship, Regalado and Arndt, 28, of Carol Stream, came into the tattoo shop to commemorate the moment. Avid fans, they didn't get tattoos after the Cup wins in 2013 or 2010 because those clinching victories came on the road, forcing Regalado and Arndt to watch them on TV. Still cool, but not as ink-worthy as this 2015 championship.
"We were there," Regalado says, explaining how they shopped around and bought tickets seven rows off the ice for Monday night's clincher at the United Center. "The tattoo commemorates that moment."
Rising Phoenix is offering 15 percent off all "hockey-related" tattoos through Sunday, but sports teams make up "a very small percentage" of the store's tattoo business, says Ozman, who grew up in Glendale Heights. "People get memorial tattoos, Bible verses, things like that. That's the main reason people get tattoos -- to commemorate something."
Arndt and Regalado already immortalized their love for their two favorite Chicago sports teams in a single tattoo.
"We have the Bears logo with a fist around a tomahawk," Regalado says.
The new Cup tattoo fits on some blank flesh on Arndt's right calf, next to the Bears-Blackhawks hybrid.
"Now that I've started sports here, I'm going to stick to the same body part," says Arndt, who boasts 16 tattoos, mostly related to family.
Rising Phoenix owner Sara Aligire, who lives in Wheaton, had Ozman ink a tomahawk tattoo on her right shoulder in the midst of an earlier playoff run.
"I get compliments on it all the time. I got it right after we played San Jose, before we went to the Cup in 2010," Aligire says, noting that her feelings for the Blackhawks didn't hinge on them going on to win the Stanley Cup. The tomahawk showed her love for the team, regardless of the Cup.
"You don't want to get a tattoo of the Cup during the Cup," Arndt says.
"When you are a Hawks fan, you respect tradition," adds Regalado, who has eight other tattoos, mostly in honor of people he loves. "You don't want to jinx something."
Now that the Blackhawks team she loves has won another championship, Aligire says she'd like to add another team-related tattoo.
"I have been a Blackhawks fan since I was 8 years old," she says, noting she still has a photo of her as a girl posing with then-Blackhawks goalie Eddie Balfour, who helped the team make it as far as the Stanley Cup Final in 1991-92. "I want to get the feathers at some point."
A popular choice.
"We've been doing one or two sets of feathers a week since the playoffs started. Now, we're getting the Stanley Cup," Ozman says, noting that Wednesday was "super busy."
The first customer after the Blackhawks victory was a guy in need of an update for his old Blackhawks chief tattoo gotten elsewhere surrounded by dates when the team won the Cup.
"He had '34, '38, '61, '10 and '13, and he added a '15," says Ozman, who notes that Rising Phoenix artist Chaq (pronounced "Chuck") also added the stylized word "Dynasty" to the tattoo. "Nice. That's rock 'n' roll."
It took some artistry to blend in the new year.
"You may run into challenges from time to time from a previous choice. But you work through it. Tattoo artists are problem-solvers," Ozman says.
Looking at an online gallery of Blackhawks tattoos, Ozman finds good and bad.
"All tattoos face the middle. He should have gotten it on the other arm," the tattoo artist says of an otherwise pretty nice likeness of the Blackhawks chief logo.
On a tattoo scale of difficulty, the iconic chief's head logo is at the top.
"It's harder than a 10. It's very difficult to do, if it's done correctly," Ozman says, noting that it incorporates red, green, yellow, blue, orange and black seamlessly without a black outline.
Tattoos are a combination of art, memory and commemoration, says Ozman. But sports fans can join the party, too.
"We see the people who lose the bet. Whoever loses gets a tattoo of the other team's logo," Ozman says. "I've tattooed something on a butt once. I always love to do a tattoo from a losing bet because the people are having fun with it."
Speaking of losing, sports fans shouldn't jump to conclusions.
"I'm sure," Ozman says, "that there's somebody out there who has the 'Chicago Cubs World Champions 2003' tattoo."