Thu Oct 07 10:55am EDT
The Chicago Blackhawks begin defense of their championship on the road at the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. As if the buzz for hockey in the Windy City could get any louder, someone pulled off an ingenious viral stunt Thursday morning to the delight of hockey fans: Placing ice sculptures of the Stanley Cup around train stations and other public areas in the city.
The Blackhawks have spent the better part of Thursday morning denying they're behind the stunt. The images have rocketed around social media sites, with Chicagoans spotting the Chalice outside of Union Station, near the Belmont Red/Brown/Purple line stop at Sheffield, the Division blue-line stop and even outside of WGN's studios. People were baffled as to their origins, and they started showing up before dawn.
We called a couple of ice sculptors in Chicago and received denials. We contacted Red Eye, the free daily newspaper that happened to have a Jonathan Toews(notes) "Captain Chill" cover Thursday, and got a denial from Ernest Wilkins.
UPDATE: Turns out it was the Blackhawks after all. From the team's official Twitter feed:
Just did some digging about the Ice Stanley Cups - we *did* make them. A top-secret plan by our street team to celebrate the new season!
According to the Blackhawks, this stunt has been in the works for some time. The media relations staff was aware that the street team would be unleashing it on Thursday morning.
From Adam Rogowin, director of public relations for the Blackhawks:
Truthfully, it's not one person, it was a team effort. Our street team, which is a branch of our marketing department, put together a covert operation early this morning, dropping off approximately a dozen of the Stanley Cup ice sculptures around the city in an effort to take a unique approach to mark the start of our season after all of the Cup hysteria this summer.
There were a total of 10. I can't confirm the company.
Here are a few images of the ice Stanley Cups around Chicago on Thursday morning, beginning with Daley Plaza:
And, the same Cup two hours later on a 70-degree day in Chicago:
We echo the sentiments of Blackhawks Downlow: "To the ones responsible for this, you win at life." (Blackhawks DL is also trying to compile a complete list of sightings; if you spotted one, drop it in their comments.)
Thanks to Puck Buddy Frank S. for the tip, Brandon Arnold for one of many photos and Bridget A. for helping to crack the case.
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