Happy fans fill streets, but some get out of hand
Sun-Times, Sun-Times Media Wire
Police in riot gear marched on the intersection of Addison and Southport about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday after a raucous crowd celebrating the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory started throwing glass bottles at police vehicles.
The rowdy scene was one of the last stands staged by revelers who descended on the Wrigleyville neighborhood after the Hawks victory, which was sealed in the final minutes of the third period.
At that intersection, there were no police in sight when four men stood on the roof of a bus shelter and others danced on the trailer of a flatbed truck. The throng repeatedly rushed into the intersection to jump on the hoods and roofs of cars while blocking traffic.
Others threw bottles and trash in the streets while several men climbed above the mob, shimmying up traffic light poles.
“It’s just getting crazy,” said Tony Garza, who had been at the scene for about 40 minutes when police moved in, “It’s just what happens when your team wins.”
Mateo Rodriguez, 18, came to the city to celebrate after watching the game with some friends in Rolling Meadows. He was confused about the crowd’s hostility towards law enforcement.
“I don’t know why they’re mad at the police,” Rodriguez said. “They’re just doing their job, and a damn good job at it.”
He said he thought the celebration had gotten out of hand.
“I don’t know why they’re going crazy. It’s stupid,” he said. “It’s all in good fun, but there has to be a line. And that’s coming from an 18-year-old kid.”
While the crowd was mostly dispersed by 1:40 a.m., for most of the night Chicago Police had their hands full as victory celebrations extended from late Monday to early Tuesday.
Before it was over, two people suffered injuries, according to the Chicago Fire Department. Windows were shattered at several businesses in the 2400 and 2500 blocks of North Clark, including HomeMade Pizza Co., 2460 N. Clark St.; Fuel Station coffee, 2453 N. Clark St.; MS News And Tobacco, 2445 N. Clark St; Starbucks, 2525 N. Clark; For Eyes eyewear, 2555 N. Clark St., and Virgin Mobile, 2562 N. Clark St.
And several people were, at least temporarily, detained by authorities.
Police SUVs lined up side-by-side and drove west on Addison from Clark to try to get the crowds to move on. But hours after the victory people were dancing between the squad cars and jumping off the fenders.
Late Monday, at Clark and Addison, a group of five to 10 people jumped onto the macaroni sculpture outside Wrigley Field and started to chant as they tried to wrench the sculpture from its moorings. Police on horseback moved in while other uniformed officers handcuffed one man who seemed to be the instigator.
At midnight other fans were still cheering, chanting and celebrating in the streets near Clark and Addison, but the crowds were thinning out. Bars were closing, mounted Chicago Police officers were clearing the streets, and cops were encouraging fans to head home, telling them: “Hell of a game but it’s time to go.”
Minutes later, one man appeared unhurt after he darted in front of a muscle car and was flipped over its hood as the car screeched away at a high rate of speed.
Earlier, about 11:15 p.m., the crowd was focused on a drunk, shirtless guy who climbed on top of the Goose Island tavern sign on Clark just south of Addison. People in the crowd were yelling “Jump.”
The man grabbed a Hawks flag and waved it around before trying unsuccessfully to climb up the building. He ultimately slid down the sign and back to the ground. Steel partitions and bicycles were being passed over the heads of members of the crowd.
On Madison Street just east of the United Center, stinging high fives and deafening screams filled taverns as the Hawks scored a pair of goals late in the third period to come from behind and beat the Boston Bruins to clinch the Stanley Cup.
With seconds left to go in regulation time, and the Hawks up a goal, a man in white gloves appeared on TV rubbing the Stanley Cup down with a cloth, prompting one fan to scream: “Shine it up baby, shine it up!”
The gleeful pandemonium was a 180 degree turn from moments earlier when the sound of someone being punched in the stomach seemed to echo in the bar when the Bruins took the lead.
“It was like getting the air knocked out of you,” said Ozzie Lopez, 31, of Little Village, who watched the game at the Third Rail Tavern. “But those last goals, it was unbelievable, dude. We were still celebrating the tie when they scored the winning goal.”
With a voice hoarse from yelling at the TV, Manuel Torres, 39, summed up the moment:“I’m breathless. I need a beer.”
Downtown at Mother Hubbard’s, the audience watching the game was about 10 percent pro-Boston, and one of the Bruins fans, Mark Parent, 47, of a Boston suburb, had to admit “Boston blew it.’’
“They were winning with 1 1/2 minutes left and they gave up two goals,’’ said Parent, in town for a product-management convention. “If this was Boston-New York, I’d be a lot more disappointed. I have a lot of more respect for Chicago. This is more of a love-hate relationship. New York is a hate-hate relationship.’’
Fellow conventioneer Dave Desjardins, 40, also a Bruins fan, agreed.
“It was a fun city to watch the game in. It’s one hockey-team city against another hockey-team city,’’ Desjardins said.
Earlier in the game at the Third Rail Tavern, profanities unleashed after Boston’s first goal were canceled by deafening screams when Jonathan Toews’ goal tied the game. Crowds let out a long “oooooh” when Blackhawk Andrew Shaw took a puck to the face.
Before the game, Blackhawks fans waited in the rain to get into packed taverns along Madison Street just east of the United Center.
A bartender at the Third Rail sounded an air horn and beat a drum to lead cheers as the Hawks took the ice in Boston.
“Sorry, man. We’re at capacity and don’t want the fire department here,” the bartender said. Those turned away watched giant flat screen TVs through a window.
In Andersonville, about 20 people of Swedish descent came to Simon’s Tavern to cheer on the Blackhawks, a team with five Swedish players.
Erik Kinhammer, 23, grew up in Sweden collecting NHL hockey cards and said kids there play either hockey or soccer.
“I’m a big hockey fan, Kinhammer said. “It’s great that the Blackhawks are doing well because there are five Swedes on the team.”