The NHL narrowly avoided the biggest screwup in league history last night, but not for lack of trying. For inexplicable reasons, they decided to wait until the last possible moment before bringing the Stanley Cup to the United Center.
So as the Chicago Blackhawks put the finishing touches on their third championship in six years, the most famous trophy in all of sports was not in the building. Thanks to inclement weather in the area and the inability to book a hotel close to the action, the Cup necessitated a police escort.
And even though the fevered dash to the rink reached speeds of 100 mph, the trophy still arrived fashionably late.
“Mother Nature was not a hockey fan tonight,” the head keeper of the Cup, Phil Pritchard, told ESPN.com while the Blackhawks were celebrating on the ice.
Sure. Blame the weather and not human error for trying to cut it so close.
I mean, I don’t even know what to say. Being on hand when a hockey team wins the title is sort of an important job responsibility for the Cup. One could argue it’s the most important responsibility.
Because of the snafu everything was delayed. There was a fair amount of milling around and vamping. And a fair amount of awkward tension.
Imagine if the weather had been really bad. Imagine the Blackhawks winning their first Cup on home ice since 1938 and weren’t able to hoist the prize in their own building. Have to imagine there’d be a full-on revolt in that case.
Maybe next year those responsible will plan better and not operate like a bleary-eyed freshman arriving to his morning class when it’s already half over.