WATCH THE CELEBRATION ON DUCKSTV
More than 15,000 fans crowded into the Honda Center parking lot Saturday evening to celebrate the 2007 Stanley Cup Champions Ducks. Fans arrived as early as 8 a.m. to secure a spot for the celebration, which lasted from 6:30 p.m., rolled on as the sun went down and concluded just before 9 p.m.
After some pregame musical entertainment and video on the several giant screens located around the parking lot, the Ducks arrived via double-decker bus down Katella Avenue. They slowly made their way down the red carpet, stopping along the way to receive congratulations from fans who had staked out spots along the walkway. Of course, three Ducks didn't arrive that way. Captains Scott Niedermayer, Rob Niedermayer and Chris Pronger landed on Douglass Avenue via helicopter with the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) and Campbell Trophy (Western Conference championship). For seemingly the thousandth time since Wednesday, Rob held the Stanley Cup over his head as they approached the crowd.
When they reached the stage, every Ducks player, coach and front office member was introduced and each was met with a roar from the throng.
Extra-loud ovations came for players like Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger, J.S. Giguere and, of course, George Parros.
Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle spoke briefly, followed by a surprise visit from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Owner Henry Samueli addressed the crowd, finishing his remarks by saying, "THIS is the new Hockeytown!"
Brothers Rob and Scott Niedermayer, Pronger, Selanne and Giguere each answered questions from emcee and Ducks TV analyst Brian Hayward. Selanne, who was greeted with chants of "One more year!" gave no indication about whether or not he will make this season the last. "That's something I will think about at a later time," Selanne said. "Right now it's party time."
He was certainly right about that.
The festivities concluded with each Ducks player stepping to the front of the stage to hold the Cup over their heads, just like they did on the ice after the Game 5 victory over Ottawa at Honda Center. Henry and Susan Samueli raised a Stanley Cup Champions flag in front of the arena as an endless stream of confetti fell onto the crowd and fireworks lit up the sky.
"These fans," several Ducks said during the night, "are the best in the world."
Fans in attendance received free Wienerschnitzel hot dogs, Pepsi Cola and Aramark barbeque potato chips.