Stanley Cup emotions runneth over for Blackhawks fans
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter September 18, 2013 1:48PM
Raul Ramirez, 24, of Wheaton, poses with the Stanley Cup as the Blackhawks host public viewing at Millennium Park on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2013 7:32AM
What would make a 50-year-old West Chicago plumber bounce up and down nonstop like a kid on a pogo stick?
Or a retired Oak Lawn firefighter on crutches — a man who has had four back surgeries — wait in line for three hours?
An up-close and in-the-flesh encounter with the Stanley Cup, of course.
“I was born in 1962, so I missed the 1961 Championship,” explained Dann Hauber, the plumber. “We lost to Montreal in 1971. I was nine years old. I remember crying my eyes out.”
Tears welled in Hauber’s eyes again Wednesday, as he and perhaps 1,000 Blackhawks fans waited in line at Millennium Park to kiss, touch, stroke or hug the silver chalice as it sat resplendent on the Pritzker Pavilion stage.
A white-gloved Howie Borrow — the “Cup Keeper” — stood at a discreet distance, making sure fans didn’t let their emotions get the better of them during an event co-hosted by the Blackhawks and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Borrow rushed over on one occasion, when a startled fan tried to lift the Cup and was quickly told to put it down, but otherwise, fans treated the Cup with the utmost respect.
“Just don’t lift it — that’s reserved for the players,” said Borrow, who is one of four keepers who monitor the Cup on its travels. “They’ve earned the right to be able to do that.”
Feeding their pets from the Cup is also reserved for players, apparently.
“I’ve seen horses eat out of it, dogs and cats,” Borrow explained. “They’re part of the families, too, right?”
Players have been known to use the Cup as a baptismal font, Borrow said.
On Wednesday, Borrow, who is on his way to Montreal with the Cup Thursday, encouraged a mother with a newborn to plop the infant inside Stanley.
“I’m shaking — that was so much fun,” said Elaine Frei, a Loop resident who brought her 9-week-old son, Harrison, to the event. Wearing a Blackhawks bib, Harrison patiently tolerated having to sit in the Cup while his auntie took pictures.
“He’s a good sport,” his mother said.