The Blackhawks, of course, did things up right. It was a gorgeous ceremony, and I'll admit I shed some tears of happiness. As a sports fans, there are some truly unique moments you can witness; your team celebrating a national championship is high, if not tops, on the list. I've waited 28 years to see a team that I love win the Stanley Cup. Not as long as some Chicago fans, to be sure, but a start to the evening that was tremendous.
Videos leading into the ceremony. It was the first time I could recall seeing full-ice graphics at the United Center, which we saw used in several other arenas during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs (I can recall Montreal for one)
Too many men on the ice. Just kidding. Trainers/coaching/management staff were among those honored.
Another look at the all-ice graphic effect. I like how those full-ice graphics look. If they do those regularly... yeah, that'd be sweet.
The Division and Conference banners were already in the rafters.
They were covered, and then revealed as part of the ceremony.
New additions to the 2010-2011 Blackhawks team were announced, followed by the remaining team members who were on the championship roster.
Although I was happy to see the Blackhawks win in Philadelphia and get the Final round completed, there's something almost incomplete about a victory won on enemy soil - or ice, as it were. In the case of the Stanley Cup, the tradition is for the winning team to skate it around on the ice once they are allowed to hoist the trophy. It was a tradition that every Chicago fan would have dearly desired to see at the UC. Tonight was the closest to that: as the Captain and last to be introduced, Jonathan skated out onto UC ice, hoisting the Stanley Cup - and giving it a last kiss or two, of course. He only had to skate the cup to center ice; I think he would have enjoyed a victory lap or two around the UC ice.
If the Blackhawks had done nothing else except let Toews and the team skate the Cup around the ice a few times, I would've been happy. But they started with a cool pre-game show, and the most important part was there, too - Toews carrying the Cup gleefully across the home ice.
See all those glowing lights in the audience?
Cameras. Everybody was busy recording what they saw, in one form or another.
Members of the 1961 Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks unfurled the banner...
... and then those members of the team who were on the roster for the playoffs skated the banner across the ice and connected to the cables that would hoist it to the rafters ....
You don't really get the sense of scale about how big these banners are til somebody is next to one.
Then it was time for the National Anthem...
The new look of the United Center with the new banners. Looks pretty great!!