Sports

In Detroit, The Cup Runneth Overtime Celebration Of Red Wings’ Title Keeps Citizens In A Party Mood

This celebration was 42 years in the making. So don’t expect the excitement over the Red Wings’ first Stanley Cup championship since 1955 to end soon.

“I started about noon yesterday and plan to continue celebrating through the year,” said Heather Lundy as she stood with a crowd of about 100 people about 8:30 a.m. Sunday to watch a 2,500-pound replica of the Stanley Cup being hoisted into place atop the Wayne County building.

“Detroit is awesome, the Red Wings are awesome and some aspirin would be the awesomest right about now,” Lundy joked.

Lundy’s feelings echoed throughout the city Sunday, hours after the Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers to win the coveted Cup. Tuesday, there will be a downtown parade.

At 4 a.m. Sunday, debris scattering the main streets heading into and out of the city replaced the thousands of fans who poured into the street just hours earlier.

At Joe Louis Arena - where the Red Wings clinched their Cup and sent coach Scotty Bowman into the record books - a lighted marquee read “The 1997 Stanley Cup Champions.”

The replica Stanley Cup on the Wayne County building was built by a Southfield sheet metal company and hoisted into place by a construction helicopter. It was arranged by Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara.

“Our feelings are very strong about what the Wings have accomplished,” Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara said. “I can’t remember this kind of enthusiasm and excitement that was so general since World War II, where everybody was out. It’s the positiveness we’ve been missing.”

Doug Maibach, vice president of Barton-Marlow Construction, said the materials and work on the replica were donated. Crews began building the 25-foot cup on Friday and worked tirelessly before putting on the last coat of paint on Sunday morning.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to honor the Red Wings and the city,” Maibach said.

Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon said he was delighted with the respect the city received from the hundreds of thousands of fans who partied until daybreak.

“I’m feeling great. I’m happy for the (family of Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch). They’ve given so much to our city. Now they have the Stanley Cup with the city,” he said as he watched a banner - reading “We did it” - being secured into place under the Cup replica.

“There’s been a major, major change (in the city). Not only in perception, but the reality of our city,” he said. “All those things that might have occurred in the past, those fears … we can put them to rest. Things have truly changed.”

McKinnon said 16 disorderly conduct arrests were made Saturday night and three others for minor offenses.

City work crews cleaned up the papers and cups littering the streets early Sunday morning. The streets were relatively clear except for a few still feeling the high of a Red Wings win.

Red-eyed Bob Wojinski ordered a hot dog about 4:30 a.m. at a downtown Coney Island after a night of partying.

“I’ll probably grab a wink or two if I can find my car,” he said. “Other than that I plan to party down here until I have to go back to work on Monday … make that Tuesday.”

Wojinski may want to call in sick on Tuesday so he can be a part of the victory parade planned for downtown.

“I would say it’s a perfect ending to a fairy tale story, but it ain’t over yet,” he said. “I think we’ll do it again next year.”

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: FRANCHISE FUTILITY Current franchises that have gone the longest since their last championship:

Baseball Cubs (N.L.) 1908, White Sox (A.L.) 1917, Red Sox (A.L.) 1918, Indians 1948, Giants 1954.

Football Cardinals 1947, Rams 1951, Lions 1957.

Hockey Blackhawks 1961, Maple Leafs 1967, Bruins 1972.

Basketball Royals/Kings 1951, Hawks 1958.

This sidebar appeared with the story: FRANCHISE FUTILITY Current franchises that have gone the longest since their last championship:

Baseball Cubs (N.L.) 1908, White Sox (A.L.) 1917, Red Sox (A.L.) 1918, Indians 1948, Giants 1954.

Football Cardinals 1947, Rams 1951, Lions 1957.

Hockey Blackhawks 1961, Maple Leafs 1967, Bruins 1972.

Basketball Royals/Kings 1951, Hawks 1958.



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