The Chicago Blackhawks have been bringing their recently-won Stanley Cup everywhere--and on Sunday, it will be rushed from the NHL draft in Los Angeles directly to Chicago's Gay Pride Parade.
Last week, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported that the Chicago Gay Hockey Association invited the champion Chicago Blackhawks to Sunday's Pride Parade. Even though the Blackhawks will be in Los Angeles this weekend for the NHL draft, Blackhawks President John McDonough told Sneed the team is rerouting the Stanley Cup to be in Chicago for the parade, which kicks off Sunday at noon.
Hawks defenseman Brent Sopel will represent the team in the parade, joined by his wife and children. Sneed reports:
"The power of the Cup is incomprehensible, and we recognize the importance of doing this," said McDonough, who has arranged for the Stanley Cup to be flown back from the National Hockey League draft in Los Angeles 15 hours early. "It's important for the city and important for the franchise."
"The Stanley Cup has become the biggest celebrity of all. It has its own personality and charm. We will be proud to participate in the parade. And Brent Sopel is one of the truly great guys. To have the cup part of the parade is just another great part of the celebration."
Sopel told Sneed he will also be marching in honor of Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. Brendan was killed in a car accident two months after coming out late last year.
"When Brendan came out, Brian stood by him, and his whole family stood by him, like every family should," Sopel said. "We teach our kids about accepting everybody. Tolerate everybody, to understand where everyone is coming from."
The Chicago Cubs will also be showing their support at this year's parade. Sneed reports that for the first time in the parade's history, the Cubs will have a float in the parade. Ernie Banks will be on the float, since the team has a game that day. It will be the first float sponsored by any major Chicago sports team.
"It's just the news we wanted to hear," CGHA President Andrew Sobotka told Sneed about the Staney Cup coming to Pride. "For the Blackhawks to do this is amazing. It is wonderful to know everyone is helping to make 2010 a year to break down barriers."