The morning after, it’s a phrase that can hold many definitions and emotions. It’s when the excitement or disappointment from the previous nights adventures ebb away, and you’re faced with the reality of a situation.
With a sell-out crowd of 17,565 on hand for a Game 6 Stanley Cup Final, the atmosphere at TD Garden in Boston was, as always, a cut above the rest. Chants of “We want the Cup”, and “Go Bruins”, rained upon the ice for 58 minutes. An entire city stood behind their home team and waited with baited breath as the clock ticked down. The Bruins held a 2-1 lead in a do or die contest and the results were leaning in their favor. It was at 18:44 of the third period that fear set in, as Chicago’s Bryan Bickell sent a snap shot past Bruins Tuukka Rask. Fear turned into heartbreak at 19:01 as Dave Bolland secured the ultimate prize for the Chicago Blackhawks with a wrist shot that put his team just 59 seconds away from the Stanley Cup. Perhaps the longest 59 seconds in history for a team protecting not only it’s lead, but the title to call themselves champions.
10 seconds, the Blackhawks bench stares at the puck as it goes whizzing past.
9 seconds, players fidget anxiously among themselves.
8 seconds, the bench stands up.
7 seconds, players begin to cheer.
6 seconds, the bench begins to hop up and down in excitement.
5 seconds, all eyes are trained on the scoreboard.
4 seconds, the hugs begin.
3, 2, 1… over the boards they spill, enveloping any teammate they can get their hands on. Equipment flying, tears spilling, the Blackhawks have won the Cup.
It’s a dream for all, fought for by many, experienced by few. As Chicago fans spilled to the lower bowl of the arena, looking for a piece of glass to witness history, hockey’s ultimate prize was carried onto the ice. But in true form, the Cup isn’t truly yours until it’s hoisted, and that’s exactly what Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews did – 34 pounds of glory, held high above his head.
Friends and family flooded the ice to congratulate their heroes. It’s because of them, that the players have gotten so far. As the on ice celebrations slowly died down, the parties were just beginning. A relatively small visitors locker room in Boston didn’t deter the celebrations, as champagne showers covered the stalls.
It was at 1:37 am EST that the Cup and it’s champions were seen departing the Garden in Boston.
For Chicago, the celebration of winning the Stanley Cup continues.
For Boston the quest begins again.