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In the news: Fans flock to cheer champion Blackhawks

Fans flock to cheer champion ’Hawks

CHICAGO – From the jubilant parade all the way to the boisterous rally, millions of excited fans spent a sun-drenched Friday celebrating another Stanley Cup title for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dressed mostly in red and black, they came out to say thanks for the memories. Turns out, captain Jonathan Toews and Co. wanted to return the favor.

“This shows how unbelievable this city is,” Toews said, addressing the rapt crowd at Grant Park. “Unbelievable. Thank you.”

The Blackhawks rode to the rally in red, open-topped buses, passing waving and screaming fans as the parade traveled from the United Center to the downtown party. Toews hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head to show it off to the crowd.

One of the many signs read “Thank you, guys” on the top line and “Best 17 seconds of my life” for the second part – referring to the pair of late goals that lifted the Blackhawks to a 3-2 title-clinching victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night. And there was at least one expression of love for Andrew Shaw, the who required stitches on his face after he was hit by a puck Monday.

It was the second championship in four seasons for the Blackhawks, and authorities thought Friday’s crowd was even heartier than the 2 million that came out in 2010.

“What do you say we get back here and do it again next year?” forward Patrick Sharp said to a big cheer at the rally.

The Grant Park crowd also enjoyed a brief but colorful speech by normally reserved goaltender Corey Crawford, who drew wide grins and chuckles from his teammates.

“It’s tough to follow that speech by Corey Crawford,” Toews said after he carried the Cup onto the stage.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said 42 people were taken to hospitals with heat-related health problems.

– Associated Press

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