The Blackhawks have done it again: Advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. Not since the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s has a home team been so enjoyable to root for. Blackhawks hockey games have become appointment television. Racing home to be in front of the big screen, or on a comfortable bar stool, or watching the game live inside the arena. I was fortunate enough to attend the epic Game Two triple-overtime thriller as well as the satisfying Game Seven clincher in Anaheim. In fact, I have had good luck watching the home team lose at Honda Center this season:

  • Nov.28: CHICAGO 4 ANAHEIM 1
  • May 19: CHICAGO 3 ANAHEIM 2 (3OT)
  • May 30: CHICAGO 5 ANAHEIM 3

IMG_0750 IMG_2122 IMG_2965 IMG_3077

It was an amazing experience to be in the building for Game Seven. It took some convincing to fill a full foursome of seats, but everyone else was glad to be on hand for a clinching victory. I was committed to going to the game solo if needed, but it made it that much more enjoyable to be there with friends… Not that I couldn’t have made some new friends with some of the Hawks fans in attendance. I would estimate that Honda Center was inhabited by about 30% Chicago fans for Game Two. That figure easily could be estimated at 50% for Game Seven, with two-thirds of our corner of the 400-level dominated by jubilant Blackhawks fans.

As fantastic as it was to watch your home team clinch a Stanley Cup Final berth on visiting ice, the highlight of Saturday evening may have been post game celebration dinner at Portillo’s. I’ve had California versions of Chicago style pizza and hot dogs at the ballpark and Goose Island beers since moving to the West Coast. But NOTHING matches the taste of home offered by a Portillo’s Italian Beef. It instantly jumped near the top of the list for anything I have consumed in California. The taste translated just like eating at the spot in Arlington Heights or Elk Grove. Each next guest who advanced through the front door wearing Hawks gear was greeted with a friendly cheer and Chelsea Dagger chant

Bits & Pieces

  • After much paperwork shuffling and emails exchanged between lawyers and bankers and realtors, the short sale agreement of my Arlington Heights condo is complete. Many good memories were created in the time living on Evergreen, but I am glad to have advanced past the stress of paying towards an abode where I no longer reside.
  • Did you know its Negroni Week? Me neither. I didn’t know what was included in the cocktail until searching online. But I do intend on celebrating at my favorite speakeasy-themed bar in Long Beach.
  • In other unnecessary holiday news, Friday is National Donut Day. Celebrate accordingly. I earned points in the office last Friday by supplying Dunkin’ Donuts, whose munchkins are a scarce commodity in California. Every morning should begin with a generous helping of sprinkles.
  • Work dinner last night included a trip to Melrose Place (?!) and a night at Fig & Olive. Besides feeling exceptionally Midwestern and out-of-place in a posh West Hollywood restaurant, the food was memorable and difficult to pronounce and apparently paired well with wine. The experience was elevated beyond what I’ve become accustomed to while dining alone in Long Beach.
  • All of this food conversation, I must not have eaten enough for lunch. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve put off grocery shopping or because of binge watching Breaking Bad, but lunch every day this week has been peanut butter & jelly. I haven’t yet found enough free time to start a nefarious underground business and earn stacks of supplemental income.
  • Daft Puck.

The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff winner after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. Originally commissioned in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, thenโ€“Governor General of Canada, who awarded it to Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey club, which the entire Stanley family supported, with the sons and daughters playing and promoting the game. The first Cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal HC. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen’s agreement in which their respective champions would face each other annually for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, it was established as the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926 and then the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.

There are actually three Stanley Cups: the original bowl of the “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup”, the authenticated “Presentation Cup”, and the “Replica Cup” at the Hall of Fame. The NHL has maintained effective control over both the trophy itself and its associated trademarks. Nevertheless, the NHL does not actually own the trophy, but instead uses it by agreement with the two Trustees of the Cup. The NHL has registered trademarks associated with the name and likeness of the Stanley Cup, although the league’s right to outright own trademarks associated with a trophy it does not own has been disputed by some legal experts. The original bowl was made of silver and is 18.5 centimetres (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimetres (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup, topped with a copy of the original bowl, is made of a silver and nickel alloy.

Unlike the trophies awarded by the other major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is unusual among trophies, in that it has the names of all of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on its chalice. Initially, a new band added each year caused the trophy to grow in size, earning the nickname “Stovepipe Cup”. In 1958 the modern one-piece Cup was designed with a five-band barrel which could contain 13 winning teams per band. To prevent the Stanley Cup from growing, when the bottom band is full, the oldest band is removed and preserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a new blank band added to the bottom.

Since the 1914โ€“15 season, the Cup has been won a combined 95 times by 18 active NHL teams and five defunct teams. Prior to that, the challenge cup was held by nine different teams. The Montreal Canadiens have won the Cup a record 24 times and are currently the last Canadian-based team in the NHL to win the cup after winning it in 1993. The Stanley Cup was not awarded in 1919 because of a Spanish flu epidemic, and in 2005, as a consequence of the 2004โ€“05 NHL lockout.

(via Wikipedia; Other Stanley Cup factoids available at Mental Floss)


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