When the news came this week that the Stanley Cup trophy would be a part of this weekend's Chicago gay pride parade, I assumed it was a first but not totally sure. Now, in a terrific column on the significance of the event, AP sports columnist Jim Litke says this has never happened before.
Last year, the Conn Smythe Trophy — awarded to the playoff MVP — appeared in Toronto's Pride Parade as part of a tourism promotion. But [Phil] Pritchard, the cup's full-time caretaker, confirmed it was the first time the sport's biggest icon would appear at a gay-themed event.
"It gets taken to a lot of events and parades," he said. "This one worked and fit in perfectly."
Pritchard said that every request for use of the Stanley Cup gets signed off on by the league, so its place in the parade has the blessing of the biggest powers in the sport. Litke's column has some nice quotes by Brent Sopel, a member of the Blackhawks' winning team (he was traded Wednesday to Atlanta), who is marching with his wife in honor of the late Brendan Burke.
"Anybody who has had to bury a child has suffered a heartbreak and this was the first thing that came to mind," Sopel said. "Everything that happened last year with Brendan coming out last year and dying three months later, it was a tragedy."
I am not generally big on pride parades (you've seen one, you've seen them all), but I wish I was in Chicago this weekend to see one of sports' greatest trophies proudly on display.