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Blackhawk fan gets better look at Stanley Cup Finals puck

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Updated: August 11, 2013 6:42AM



The hockey puck initially made Blackhawks fan Dr. Patricia Higgins bleed when it sailed over the glass during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals and smacked her in the face.

On Tuesday, it made her cry.

And laugh.

It was presented to her by the man who picked it up when it came to rest by his feet in a nearby row at the United Center.

“I got a little teary eyed ... the generosity,” Higgins said.

And then, a few moments later, she laughed as she held the offending black disc to her eye like a monocle.

“I tried it on, to see if it still fit in there,” said the indomitable Higgins, a 55-year-old urgent care practitioner from Burr Ridge who needed many stitches to close the wound above her right eye. The jagged scar rivals any owned by a Blackhawk.

The puck wasn’t simply put in her hand. It was placed in a hinged box that once housed a luxury watch, wrapped in a red ribbon and handed to Higgins by Irv Kaage, a Park Ridge businessman.

Kaage realized his role as temporary guardian of the puck when he saw Higgins, with souvenir towels pressed to her bleeding face, being ushered to an ambulance. Inside the black box: a ticket stub pinned in place by two Blackhawks earrings donated by Kaage’s wife, Laurel.

The hand-over was delayed a few days because Kaage, 61, was on a European cruise down the Danube River with his wife to celebrate their 40th anniversary shortly after the incident happened.

“When I saw Irv walk through the door, I was kind of overwhelmed with emotion,” Higgins said. Higgins, who suffered a concussion, still has flashes of light in her vision, and is unable to smell or taste, but is expected to make a full recovery. However, she still has not been cleared to return to work.

She plans to enshrine the puck in glass and place it in the family’s sports memorabilia room.

“I was pleased and proud to do this, it made me feel good to do it,” Kaage said.

At the meeting, which took place in the Loop, Dr. Higgins had on the same Patrick Sharp game-worn jersey she wore the night she was injured. Her blood stained the Indian head crest.

Does she expect to attend the Hawks home opener next season at the United Center?

“You bet,” Higgins said.



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