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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Snagging the Stanley Cup at the Pride Parade
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2015-06-21

This article shared 9516 times since Sun Jun 21, 2015
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Even before the final buzzer sounded, clinching the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championship on June 15, there was plenty of buzz locally—and yes, even nationally—about a return visit by The Cup itself to the annual Chicago Pride Parade, as happened in 2010.

Multiple sources told Windy City Times on June 22 that, yes, The Cup will have a prominent place in the 46th annual parade on June 28, which is expected to draw more than 1 million fans along the route that runs south from Uptown into Lake View.

The question is, where will The Cup appear, meaning, with which parade participant will The Cup ride?

The Chicago Gay Hockey Association ( CGHA ) wants The Cup again with its parade entry, and has made that known locally and also nationally with representatives of the New York-based National Hockey League ( NHL ). The CGHA played host to The Cup in 2010 as the 35-pound silver trophy rode on the CGHA float, along with former Hawks' player Brent Sopel, who is now a special commentator for Chicago's NBC-TV affiliate.

Tommy Hawk, the Hawks' mascot, will be part of the CGHA's 2015 parade participation.

Sidetrack also has made a strong push to host The Cup on its parade float, particularly because the popular, long-standing Lake View bar is rolling with a sports theme this year, and the slogan, Team Sidetrack.

Other parade entrants also have expressed interest in hosting The Cup in the parade, Windy City Times has confirmed. But the CGHA and Sidetrack are, reportedly, the two leading candidates, with multiple parties locally and even nationally ironing out final details.

"I think there's a good chance [The Cup] will be there, but there are conflicting [reports] of who it will march with; there are several interested parties [wanting to host The Cup]," Andrew Sobotka, the CGHA president, said June 22.

"The NHL wants The Cup to be in the parade; the Blackhawks want The Cup to be in the parade; the fans definitely want The Cup to be in the parade."

The CGHA is playing host to one of the largest gay hockey tournaments, the Chicago Pride Classic, with games at McFetridge Sports Center on Chicago's north side June 25-27. The second-ever CGHA tournament is expected to draw 160 players, with 10 teams and two divisions.

The CGHA is sending three teams to the tournament, which is about 45 players. There also is a predominantly-straight, Chicago-based team participating that has a few openly gay players.

The tournament will feature about colors of the LGBT rainbow, Sobotka confirmed.

About 15 to 20 percent of the tournament participants are straight, he said.

There are players coming to the tournament from Toronto, Boston, Vancouver, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

The vast majority of the tournament participants are expected to march in the parade with the CGHA, so Sobotka said the team will be represented by 200 or more hockey players.

"This is the most comprehensive tournament I've ever been to," said Sobotka, who noted that the tournament has five days of events.

For more information about the Chicago Pride Classic, go to the CGHA website: www.chicagogayhockey.org .


This article shared 9516 times since Sun Jun 21, 2015
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