The Stanley Cup is the epitome of pride.
The most prestigious trophy in professional team sportsnow held by the Chicago Blackhawks after their National Hockey League ( NHL ) championship over the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this monthwill be part of the annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade Sunday, June 27, through the streets of Lakeview on Chicago's North Side.
The Chicago Gay Hockey Association ( CGHA ) invited the Chicago Blackhawksand, of course, the Stanley Cupto join them at the parade. Blackhawks' defenseman Brent Sopel volunteered to represent the Blackhawks and join the CGHA for the parade, along with his wife, Kelly, and four children: Jacob, 12; Lyla, 8; Jayla, 6; and Paul, 20the last whom they adopted three years ago after Paul's parents died within six months of each other.
"We're thrilled and honored," said CGHA President Andrew Sobotka. "To know that our idea of having the Cup and a member of the Stanley Cup champions join us in the Pride Parade is amazing. We hope the whole City of Chicago shows up at the Pride Parade to, once again, salute the champs and show our city-wide pride in the Blackhawks."
The CGHA is Chicago's only predominantly gay hockey team, known as the Chicago Blackwolves. Team members include gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight players, ranging in age from their early 20s to their 50s. The team plays in a straight league in Northbrook.
The CGHA members traditionally roller-blade or walk the parade route. The team invited the Blackhawks, their coaching staff, broadcasters, front-office staff and The Cup to join them at the parade, which annually is one of Chicago's best-attended parades, attracting more than 450,000 onlookers.
"I am honored to do it," Sopel told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Go, Cubs, go: One of the pro teams in Chicago definitely will have a presence in the annual Pride Parade. The Cubs announced that the team will have a float in the parade, which is a first for the team. One of the Cubs' primary owners is Laura Ricketts, who is openly gay.