And this time the fans are ready.
Hundreds waited behind fences at O'Hare International Airport to welcome the bleary-eyed team home from Boston. The team plane carrying the Blackhawks and their championship trophy touched down shortly after 4 a.m., taxiing between fire trucks shooting water into the air and coming to rest in front of a small throng of fans.
Players mingled briefly with supporters but did not address the media before boarding a team bus. Just as they did three years ago, the players stopped first at Harry Caray's in Rosemont to celebrate with their families. Roughly 1,000 fans dressed in bright-red Hawks gear waited outside the Italian steakhouse hoping to catch a glimpse of the team.
After about an hour at the restaurant, several players traveled to the South Loop for a private party at The Scout bar. Crowds swelled outside the tavern around 6:15 a.m., hoping to catch a glimpse of the trophy which was hidden from public view by the brown paper covering the establishment's windows.
Meanwhile, the city announced plans for a victory rally on Friday, though the time and location have not been released. In 2010, Chicago feted the club with a massive parade and rally that was one of the best-attended celebrations in city history.
"The City of Chicago is thrilled to congratulate our own Chicago Blackhawks on their hard-fought victory, once again bringing the Stanley Cup back to their sweet home Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "Our best wishes go out to the Bruins and the city of Boston for a well-played series. In the past few months, the people of Boston have showed how they can pull together and the Bruins have represented that same spirit, demonstrating what makes Boston a truly world-class city. Our congratulations go out to Rocky Wirtz, Coach Joel Quenneville, the incredible Blackhawks players, and the whole Blackhawks family for their dedication and determination to make Chicago a championship city once again. The City of Big Shoulders stood shoulder to shoulder with the Blackhawks all season and we are all looking forward to welcoming them home as champions.”