I just saw this (thanks to @JeffMarek on Twitter), and felt the need to post it. It’s not often you see professional sports, specifically the NHL, doing something like this. And the support for Brian Burke after his tragic loss is just an amazing touch.
Quoted from http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/2417426,CST-NWS-SNEED22.article (by Michael Sneed):
Blackhawks President John McDonough is rerouting the Stanley Cup from the NHL draft in L.A. to the parade Sunday . . . and Blackhawk defenseman Brent Sopel has volunteered to represent the team.”I am honored to do it,” said Sopel, who will be accompanied by wife, Kelly, and his four kids, Jacob, 12, Lyla, 8, Jayla, 6, and Paul, 20, whom they adopted three years ago after Paul’s parents died within six months of each other.
“The power of the Cup is incomprehensible, and we recognize the importance of doing this,” said McDonough, who has arranged for the Stanley Cup to be flown back from the National Hockey League draft in Los Angeles 15 hours early. “It’s important for the city and important for the franchise.”
Last week, the Chicago Gay Hockey Association issued an invite to the Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup to join them at the parade.
They were hopeful, but “we know the realistic chances of them joining us for the Pride Parade are slim,” CGHA President Andrew Sobotka told Sneed last week.
It was a different story Monday, when Sneed delivered the news. “We are thrilled and honored for them to consider and accept our request,” said Sobotka. “It’s just the news we wanted to hear. For the Blackhawks to do this is amazing. It is wonderful to know everyone is helping to make 2010 a year to break down barriers.”
Sopel also is marching in honor of Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, who was killed in a car accident two months after coming out late last year.
“When Brendan came out, Brian stood by him, and his whole family stood by him, like every family should,” said Sopel. “We teach our kids about accepting everybody. Tolerate everybody, to understand where everyone is coming from.”
Sports agent Scott Norton summed it up: “Brent is all about giving back and feels everyone deserves an opportunity to see the cup.”
What a classy move. As a die hard Leafs fan, I have a whole new respect for the Blackhawks and especially for Sopel. It’d be great to see Brian Burke and his family join the parade as well.