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When the Chicago Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup on their home ice in 1938, the trophy wasn’t physically there to be presented due to unusual circumstances.
Flash forward 77 years and Chicago almost had to wait again to see its just reward for winning the NHL championship. Due to severe weather in the (truly) Windy City, the Cup was delayed in its arrival to the United Center on Monday night when the Blackhawks won the franchise's sixth championship.
The first time something like this happened, the 14-25-9 Blackhawks were such heavy underdogs against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1938 final that then-league president Frank Calder had the Cup sent directly to Toronto in anticipation of a Maple Leafs championship and made no effort to have it in Chicago just in case of an upset. The Hawks, who had scored the fewest goals during the regular season, ended up winning that series three games to one.
This season's Blackhawks were a lot better, and the league tried to get the treasured hardware to the United Center on time, but Chicago was impacted by severe thunderstorms throughout the evening. There was also a tornado warning on the city outskirts earlier in the evening.
Cup handler says they left their hotel on the outskirts of the city just after puck drop. Took them forever to get here— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 16, 2015
Eventually, following a roughly 10-minute delay after final horn sounded, the Cup did arrive and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was able to hoist it over his head to roars from the crowd.
After Toews lifted the Cup, he passed it to veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen.
Timonen, 40, had announced that he will retire after this season. He'd never won the Stanley Cup during his 16-year career with the Predators and Flyers. Diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lungs before the season, and fearing that his career could be over, Timonen eventually returned to play 16 regular-season games and 17 in the postseason for Chicago. His skate with the chalice was an emotional postgame moment.