Hockey fever hits campus after Blackhawks’ victory

When the clock struck zero on the night of June 9, fans in bars, houses and apartments all across the campus let out a huge cheer.

For the first time in 49 years, the Chicago Blackhawks won Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The Champaign-Urbana community soaked in all the action from start to finish, with a result that left most of its members thrilled.

“It’s about time some Chicago team starts doing well,” ACES graduate Jake Norman said. “We have been supportive fans long enough, and now we are finally getting some good luck.”

From the start of the playoffs with Game 1 against the Nashville Predators through Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals versus the Philadelphia Flyers, the bars of the area provided fans a place to watch the excitement.

“The bars around here have really good deals,” Julie Kim, senior in ACES said. “Firehaus is doing a lot of stuff for the Blackhawks and that is a lot of fun. Local bar specials have really been encouraging people to go out instead of just stay in and watch the game.”

In addition to the great deals, some bars even had red beer to show even more support for the Blackhawks.

What they provided best though, was a great atmosphere for all fans, whether they had been watching hockey for many years or just started watching during the playoff run.

“It is something that everyone can talk about, even if you don’t know a lot about hockey,” Sarah Cordon, graduate from ACES said.

“I just started watching them when they got good, but I like how it is really exciting and intense. Just being around other people watching the games makes it more interesting,” she added.

The seventh-seeded Flyers entered the Finals thanks to stellar goaltending by Michael Leighton and a high-scoring offensive attack led by playoffs leading scorer Daniel Briere, who had 30 points.

But Chicago was resilient when it mattered most, which led to captain Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup after the final game.

Days later, many of the fans found themselves on their way to Chicago to celebrate with the team in the victory parade.

The crowd roared as the players rolled by in celebration and head coach Joel Quenneville addressed the fans.

“We had some great moments this year. There were a lot of fun situations. We had some ups and some downs,” Quennville said. “But this is by far the greatest experience. The greatest thing we did all year is right now, this parade, is over the top. Wow.”

With hockey just around the corner in October, the Blackhawks will try to defend their title as champions.

Though they’ve lost some key parts from last season’s team, the core of Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith remain, giving it a great chance.