Stanley Cup to attend Gay Pride parade

June 22, 2010

updated

Stanley Cup has been very busy since the Blackhawks took possession: victory celebration in Philly (ice, locker room), parade and rally, Wrigley, 7th inning stretch, outfield, and the Tonight Show.

Jun 15: Sheffield rooftop: Adam Burrish (holding Stanley), Dave Bolland, (looking down)

Jun 16: Chicago taping of Ellen’s “Somewhat Special Special 2010 TBS Just For Laughs”

(Colin Fraser, Kris Versteeg, Ellen, Stanley, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer)

Earlier in the day, Coach Quenneville made a visit to Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Here he is with 35lb Stanley and 10 year-old Giselle Rodriguez.

.

Children too ill to participate got to watch on the in-house TV.

Photo courtesy of Janice B. Terry/Children’s Memorial Hospital – no press entourage accompanied Coach Q.

White-gloved Mike Bolt is Stanley’s adult (aka non-player) guardian.

Mike Bolt:

It puts everything in perspective when you go and do something like that. It was amazing. This has been an unbelievable experience here in Chicago — how this entire city has embraced the team and the Cup like no other city I’ve seen.

Q & A with Mike Bolt – Stanley can be fully immersed in water (Yzerman took a shower with it), can hold 14 beers, and it has been to Afghanistan.

Traveling Stanley is the real deal. A duplicate permanently resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Bolt says Stanley is on the road approx 320 days out the year and he’s with it for 250 and has been so for 11 years. His official title is Stanley Cup Guardian – a job created after the 1994 Rangers damaged it.

Read a few of Stanley’s antics.

Last week’s journeys also included: Nettelhorst Elementary School (below), where John Madden and Stan Bowman each have a child in school, Seven Bridges Ice Arena for the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association’s annual summer hockey camp (affiliated with Stan Mikita), Chicago newsrooms and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange.

On Saturday, Blackhawks president John McDonough (below) took the Cup to Edison Park (where he grew up) and then to Elk Grove Village (where he now lives) for the annual parade. He also got to toss the 1st pitch of Sox-Cubs game.

Stanley then left town Sunday for Toronto, is presently in Las Vegas for the NHL awards, and will proceed to Los Angeles for the NHL draft.

After which, Stanley will be flown back to Chicago to participate in Sunday’s Gay Pride Parade at the behest of Chicago Gay Hockey Association.

Then Stanley gets to party with the players. Each gets it for a day.

CGHA President Andrew Sobotka:

We are thrilled and honored for them to consider and accept our request. It’s just the news we wanted to hear. 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.

John McDonough:

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.

Defenseman Brent Sopel, accompanied by his wife and four children, will be marching in honor of Brendan Burke, the late son of President/GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke.

Brendan, 21, died from injuries sustained in a car accident just days prior to the start of the Vancouver Olympics where his dad served as Team USA’s GM.

In 2009, dad and son attended the Toronto Gay Pride Parade together.

Excellent (Dec 2009) article on Brendan and his family by ESPN’s John Buccigross. These are two of the Burke family photos included.

Brendan BurkeBrendan & dad Brian Burke

Brendan with the Cup and dad Brian after the Anaheim Ducks won it in 2007.

Brent Sopel:

When Brendan came out, Brian stood by him, and his whole family stood by him, like every family should. We teach our kids about accepting everybody. Tolerate everybody, to understand where everyone is coming from.

Philadelphia Flyer scout (and Brendan’s brother) Patrick Burke’s statement from OUTSPORTS [emphasis added]:

The Burke family is extremely proud of Brent Sopel for bringing the Stanley Cup to the Chicago Gay Pride Parade. Our family has known Brent since he played for the Vancouver Canucks, and we are so thankful that he is choosing to honor Brendan’s legacy. This past season ensured that Brent would be remembered as a Stanley Cup champion, but his actions next Sunday will ensure a much more important and unique legacy for him.

He will, like Brendan, be remembered for giving hope to the next generation of athletes by standing up for inclusion and acceptance.

We would also like to thank and commend his wife and children for their support.

Mr Cub, Ernie Banks, will be representing the Cubs at the parade. (Cubs playing the Sox again)

And Duncan Keith has a full set of teeth, albeit temporary, just in time to accept the Norris Trophy.

Follow Stanley on Twitter: Where’s the Cup or the HHOF’s Stanley Cup Journal.

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