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Darling, father commemorate Cup win with tattoos

by David Satriano

Scott Darling celebrated becoming the first Chicago-area player to win the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks by getting a tattoo that commemorates the occasion.

Scott Darling Sr. also got inked up last month, surprising his son with a tattoo on his arm of the 26-year-old goalie lifting the Cup, as he did after the Blackhawks' Game 6 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15.

Michael Figueroa, who works at Spider Tattooz in Sycamore, Ill., did each tattoo.

"I've been a Blackhawks fan ever since I was a kid," he said. "To have this opportunity happen was extremely unreal but exciting.

"I started tattooing [Darling] when he was still in Rockford [IceHogs of the American Hockey League], and after I tattooed him, I started tattooing [Blackhawks prospect] Mark McNeill."

The younger Darling's tattoo depicts the Stanley Cup and the Chicago skyline along with the initials "CR" for Clint Reif, the Blackhawks equipment manager who died during the season.

"The design for Darling, he actually came up with," Figueroa said. "I actually was getting ready to do a different design on him. … When he contacted me, he told me about doing the Stanley Cup tattoo, and I was excited about that because he just won the Cup."

Darling went 9-4-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage as a rookie during the 2014-15 regular season, then earned three wins in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Nashville Predators. He got the tattoo June 25, 10 days after Chicago clinched the championship and four days before his day with the Cup in his hometown of Lemont, Ill.

His dad got his tattoo the day before the celebration in Lemont.

"His dad told me that he wanted to get a tattoo, this was right after they won the Stanley Cup, and he contacted me and told me he wanted to get it," Figueroa said. "He called me and told me that he was going to be in town on Sunday. He told me he wanted it to be a surprise, so I never told Scott that I would be tattooing his dad."

Figueroa, 33, has been tattooing for nine years and has been drawing hockey art for two years. He's drawn many players, including almost the entire Blackhawks team, and has gotten the artwork signed.

"After awhile, the players started to recognize my artwork," he said. "[I've met] Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell, Bobby Hull, Jeremy Roenick, Tony Esposito, Antti Raanta, Patrick Kane. … The only people I really haven't met yet are [Jonathan] Toews and [Marian] Hossa. Pretty much the whole team has seen my artwork and signed it. I've actually given some of it to the players as well."

Figueroa wasn't at the Blackhawks' Cup-clinching victory against the Lightning, but he did attend one playoff game.

"I actually got to go to Game 6 [of the Western Conference Final] against the [Anaheim] Ducks, and that was a last-minute surprise," he said. "I got a phone call from a friend saying he had a ticket. That was probably one of the coolest things, especially with it being Game 6 and we were kind of fighting to stay alive."


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