Hawks fan Mark Kmiecik of Tinley Park couldn't handle watching Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at home, so he flew to Boston and scored seats behind net into which the Hawks scored the title clincher. Kmiecik, 34, told RedEye the story of attending one of the best sports moments in Chicago history.
We went to Fenway Park during the day, and we had our hockey stuff on, so we were not so much harassed, but we definitely got some looks. The thing that I have to say is that the Boston people were very accommodating, very hospitable. Of the probably 100 people I spoke with, there was only one person who was rather mean spirited.
Got to the stadium, and there were a good number of Hawks fans around. We were fortunate enough to get seats that were third row from the ice on the side where the Blackhawks shot twice. It was really exciting. We knew that possibly within three hours, we'd be seeing the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins won the first period, but they played their best hockey. We knew that if that was the best Boston could play, that maybe things would get a little bit better.
Things got a little bit more desperate [when the Hawks went down 2-1]. The Hawks pulled the goalie, and then [Jonathan] Toews passes to [Bryan] Bickell right in front of the net, and he scored right in front of us. And all the Hawks fans just jumped up and down and were high-fiving each other, hugging each other. It was a sense of relief at that time, like, "Great, this game is going to overtime."
We barely got done with [the celebration] and turned around and the Hawks had the puck back in the zone and scored again. Nobody knew what happened. You could just feel the air absolutely fly out of the stadium. I watched the game when I got home from Boston, and the TV did not adequately show how absolutely stunned the fans were. People had their head in their hands. I saw some tears from some Bruins fans. They were absolutely stunned. In a matter of basically 30 seconds of actual time, they had gone from a Game 7 to them being in desperation mode. Now THEY have to score in the last minute.
When the game ended, the Bruins fans, again, were very classy. The two gentlemen sitting next to me shook my hand and said "congratulations." Most of the crowd stuck around to see the Stanley Cup lifted. It was an absolute sense of jubilation.
I'm a White Sox fan, a Blackhawks fan and of course a Bears fan, and besides maybe a bottom-of-the-ninth, walkoff home run from the White Sox, I really can't think of a better ending to a sporting event.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @readjack.
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