The rally, which organizers projected could draw a crowd to rival the 2 million-strong sea of fans at a celebration of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup victory, kicked off at 10:30 a.m. Friday with a parade from United Center to Grant Park, where players took to the stage, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"The only reason this day is fun is because of you guys," right wing/center Patrick Kane told the assembled crowd." It makes hockey fun."
Kane, the post-season MVP, presented the team's wrestling championship belt, an award traditionally given to the team's less-recognized heroes, to goalie Corey Crawford.
Team captain Jonathan Toews was the last player to speak.
"This is unbelievable," he said. "For the guys that that were here in 2010, we didn't think there was a chance we could outmatch that performance by the fans, but you guys did somehow. This shows how unbelievable this city is. Unbelievable. Thank you.
"I can't think of a better team, a better bunch of guys to represent this city, hard-working guys, down-to earth guys that go out there and play for each other every single shift, who represent this city and what it means right here," he said. "Bringing the Stanley Cup home twice in four years is unbelievable. Thank you!"
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