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On June 13, 1997, the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz for the franchise's fifth NBA title. That was the last time the Windy City saw a championship in any sport won within its confines ... until Monday night.
The last three sports titles won by the city now belong to the Blackhawks, who dispatched the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center to the win the Stanley Cup, four games to two, and hoist Lord Stanley's hallowed chalice in front of 22,000 roaring faithful. It was the first time that the Hawks had clinched the Cup on home ice since 1938.
The Blackhawks win was all but secured when Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane found the back of the net at 14:46 of the third period, setting off an eruption of cheers and celebration that was still felt in the early morning hours in the streets of Chicago. It was Kane’s only goal of the series.
Chicago's 2–0 victory, the only one of the six games in the series to be decided by more than one goal, helped cement the Blackhawks as hockey’s latest dynasty. They are the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, ’98 and 2002 to win three Cups in a six-year span.
The championship pedigree of the Blackhawks included outstanding goaltending and the ability to save leads, winning all 33 games this season when they were ahead after two periods.
Assistant managing editor Steve Cannella explained the process of closing the new issue of Sports Illustrated after Monday night's win:
"To be able to capture a championship moment on our cover in such a timely way is a rare and special opportunity for us. We held the magazine open six hours past our usual Monday night deadline, and thanks to some quick work from photo editor Claire Bourgeois, we had Jeff Haynes's beautiful cover shot of Duncan Keith's game-winning goal picked and ready to go before the Cup was even on the ice for the post-game celebration (and not because the Cup's arrival was delayed).
"All in all, a process that usually takes at least half a day—from filed story to finished magazine layout—was completed in a little over two hours. It's extremely gratifying for all of us to commemorate these moments—and to know that we can share work we're proud of almost immediately after we've completed it. SI.com executive editor Ryan Hunt's team worked through the night to have the Blackhawks championship cover ready to post by 7 a.m. To me, this is SI at its best: an instant-classic magazine cover, available instantly."
For more on the Blackhawks, check out Austin Murphy’s story in this week’s Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).
Also in this issue: Continuing coverage of the NBA Finals and a special report of the heroin epidemic in youth sports.
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