UIC fans join Blackhawks celebration

Chicago Blackhawks parade

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews holds the Stanley Cup. Photo: Megan Strand

Friday was Chicago Blackhawks Day just about everywhere in the city, including UIC.

The 2013 Stanley Cup Champions hit the streets at 10 a.m. for a championship parade that began just blocks from campus at Desplaines Street, proceeding down Washington Boulevard to a rally at Grant Park.

After the Hawks edged out the Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in Boston June 24 — scoring two goals 17 seconds apart to win their second championship since 2010  — Chicago was ready to celebrate. The team had skated through a record-setting regular season, winning 24 straight without a regulation loss and battling through a tough playoff.

Happy UIC fans set out for the parade and rally this morning, including contingents from Campus Housing and the Liautaud Graduate School of Business.

Blackhawks fan Matthew Palmer at parade

“The energy is awesome,” says Matthew Palmer. 

“I wanted to be here, live in it with my city,” said Matthew Palmer, IT support staff in Campus Housing, as he waited for the parade. “The energy is awesome.”

“Campus Housing is excited for a great Chicago experience,” said South Campus housing coordinator Victoria Kathrein, a self-described “die-hard Blackhawks fan” who organized the outing for students and staff.

“It seems like a crazy day to be downtown,” she said, “but it’s part of the urban experience.”

Erica Minix, assistant director of marketing and communication at Liautaud, was there for the celebration when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

“It was absolutely bananas,” she said Thursday. “I am mostly looking forward to all the shiny, happy people of Chicago taking their joy to the streets!”

“Two championships within four years,” said Liautaud academic adviser James Brown. “Good work, fellas.”

Blackhawks trainer Mike Gapski

Mike Gapski, ’82 AHS, head athletic trainer for the Chicago Blackhawks.

UIC has another connection to the Blackhawks — Mike “Gapper” Gapski, the team’s athletic trainer for 26 years, is a 1982 graduate of the College of Applied Health Sciences.

After graduation, Gapski was athletic trainer for UIC’s hockey team (discontinued in 1996) for five years before he was recruited by the Blackhawks.

After the 2010 win, “I was drinking out of the cup as Andrew Ladd and Bobby Hull held it,” he told UIC Alumni magazine.

“I thought, ‘It can’t get much better than this.’”




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