The Stanley Cup returned to Chicago for the first time in 49 years early Thursday, and its arrival along with the Blackhawks at O'Hare International Airport warranted a water cannon salute.
The Blackhawks ended the NHL's longest championship drought on Wednesday night in Philadelphia with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Flyers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. The team last won the trophy in 1961 by defeating Detroit, also in six games.
The Blackhawks brought the Cup home on a chartered Boeing 737 that taxied to a private terminal tucked on O'Hare's eastern edge at 3:55 a.m. local time. A pair of white Chicago Fire Department airport trucks blasted celebratory arcs of water over the jet as it came to a stop on the tarmac.
Meanwhile, lines of parked fire, police and emergency vehicles — all with lights flashing and horns sounding — framed the scene.
After the plane stopped, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews emerged from the forward door holding the Cup over his head and walked down the stairs. Followed by teammates, coaches and team officials, Toews marched into the terminal with the trophy, and briefly spoke to reporters and posed for photographers.
The Blackhawks then boarded buses for what appeared to be the rest of a long celebration.