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25 IN 25: 2010 Banner Raising

On Oct. 9, 2010, the Blackhawks cemented their Stanley Cup victory as a banner rose to the rafters of the United Center

by Bob Verdi /

To celebrate 25 years of Blackhawks hockey at the United Center, looks back on the top 25 moments with '25 in 25'

The Stanley Cup, a portable and cherished 35-pound silver beauty, made the world tour during the summer of 2010. The champion Blackhawks took it everywhere, although if the Cup could talk, it might have felt like a resident of Chicago, for all the local visits on its itinerary.

But the Stanley Cup is not owned, only rented, which is why the Sunday night of Oct, 9, 2010, brought a sense of permanence to the best team in the National Hockey League. There were three championship banners above the United Center rink - from 1934, 1938 and 1961. They had some age on them and looked a bit lonely.

Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks' captain, brought the Stanley Cup to center ice, placed it down respectfully, and patted it a couple times. Then, from the Zamboni entrance on the west end, the 2010 Stanley Cup banner appeared.

Members of the 1961 Blackhawks cradled it - Stan Mikita, Eric Nesterenko, Pierre Pilote, Ab McDonald and Bobby Hull. They wore their sweaters from 49 years past, Hull being No. 16 at the time, not No. 9. Then, in a darkened arena, the 2010 Blackhawks skated forth to maneuver their banner toward its final home.

Video: 25 in 25: 2010 Cup banner raising

There were 22,161 fans in the building, and they produced a festival of flashes to record the moment for posterity. Up went the banner, ever so slowly, accompanied by a light show. As the boys of winter watched down below, some of them clapped, and why not? They made it happen. Clap for yourselves. Other players just stared, gazed. Toews wrapped his arm around the shoulders of Patrick Kane, who had clinched the Cup with his Game 6 overtime goal in Philadelphia almost six months prior. But the joy of accomplishment never gets old.

However, the wait for another title had, and now those three mementoes from yesteryear at last had company. The chairman, Rocky Wirtz, and President & CEO John McDonough joined members of the front office for the ceremony. Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, was there. They gathered with players for pictures that would belong to scrapbooks for a lifetime.

Also in the United Center, the Detroit Red Wings. They had ruled for a long time, and the Blackhawks wanted to be like them, and now they were.

Marian Hossa studied the fresh arrangement upstairs. The 2010 banner wasn't going anywhere, but as he said, "there's room for more."

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