Huge media attention for Blackhawks at Pride

What started with a simple idea has catapulted into a monster mainstream media story. Within hours of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association inviting the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to the Gay Pride Parade, the story got attention from Outsports, Yahoo, ESPN.com and other outlets.

“We were shocked how the story of our invite to the Hawks was played in the media; it was everywhere,” said CGHA president Andrew Sobotka.

The Blackhawks reportedly sent the CGHA’s invite to the players, and defenseman Brent Sopel volunteered to represent the team at the parade. Sopel also took the story to another level, truly bringing the story home, giving it heart. Sopel said he was going to ride in the parade on the CGHA float in honor of the late Brendan Burke, who died in an auto accident in Indiana in February – and Sopel was bringing the Stanley Cup with him.

“I knew Brian personally for years, and I met Brendan a couple of times, and when you see a story like that (of his death) ... any young kid that dies like that is tragic. Nobody should have to bury their children,” Sopel told ESPN.com. “So I said it was a great idea [to be in the parade].”

Ironically, Sopel was traded by the Hawks to the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday, yet Sopel said he still will participate in the parade with his wife, Kelly.

The CGHA’s simple idea – and Sopel’s gracious move – has been everywhere in the media. The Associated Press covered the story with a lengthy story, as did the New York Times and ESPN.com.

Plus, there has been coverage in The Huffington Post, Perezhilton.com, MSNBC.com and the New York Daily News, among others. Of course, every media outlet (print, radio and TV) in Chicago has covered the story.

“The past two weeks have been surreal,” Sobotka said. “It went from a simple gesture to something that’s made history, and nobody in the CGHA expected this.”

The CGHA and Sopel will wear BB patches in the parade to honor Burke, the same patches worn by the Miami University hockey team, where Burke was a team manager.

The ticker-tape parade for the Blackhawks days after their Stanley Cup victory drew an estimated 2 million fans. The Chicago Gay Pride Parade annually attracts about 450,000 onlookers. Some are speculating that this year’s Pride Parade could draw in excess of 1 million onlookers, mainly because The Cup is there.

All from the CGHA’s one simple invitation.

You can follow Ross Forman on his blog.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Outsports

You must be a member of Outsports to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Outsports. You should read them.

Join Outsports

You must be a member of Outsports to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Outsports. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.