Frankly, there is nothing like a Red Wings victory parade and one doubts that any other NHL team can do it any better than Detroit (although the Wings have had the opportunity to perfect the technique 4 times in the past 11 years). Fans started setting up positions before 6AM and everybody seemed to make it through temperatures pushing the 90s with a muggy dewpoint at 67%. And frankly, I'm thrilled that the Finals didn't go to the seventh game - for obvious reasons - but also because the ice quality tomorrow, in the expected record-breaking heat and humidity, would have been disasterous.
While the NHL site did carry online coverage of the parade on its website, one regrets the NHL marketing department did not put in more effort and get a little more promotion and mileage out of this event other than just posting a poorly written AP blurb on its website that ends with a negative jab about the Detroit mayor's current legal problems. (He was booed by the crowd at Hart Plaza when he got up to say a few words, but the AP last line remark was totally irrelevant on the NHL site and should have been edited out - I mean, that is truly living in a glass house and throwing stones with some of the current legal entanglements pending against certain NHL team owners).
Of course, parades are for the fans, and perhaps those from other towns aren't in a jovial mood to celebrate with the Wings. (Still, paranoia never takes a rest and one also wonders how much publicity and coverage would have taken place had the parade been in Pittsburgh). Nevertheless, the marketing opportunity is that a MILLION people turned out for the parade and celebration. They lined Woodward Avenue dozens of people deep and all were decked out in red and white Wings regalia - which they had to buy (more money in the hockey coffers) Plus, 2 local TV stations, and FSN-Detroit pre-empted FIVE hours of programming to carry the complete parade festivities from 9 AM to 2 PM. If the NHL wants to show that there is indeed, plenty of interest in hockey, than this was the golden opportunity. For heaven's sake - at least cobble together a clip to release to the sports media pool for broadcast.
It was really impressive to see Stanley getting to have a reunion with some of his silver-clad relatives up on the stage - the President's trophy, the Campbell Cup, the Jennings trophy, and the Conn Smythe trophy. Hart Plaza is right on the Detroit River and visible from the river. During the ceremony one of the Great Lakes freighters passed by and tooted the salute signal to the crowd.
The Detroit Tigers are back in town and one hopes that now that Stanley is home in Hockeytown that Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch will get the ailing Tigers back up to championship form. After the Wings arrived home in the early morning after game 6, a private party was held in the hanger for the players and their families. The Tigers landed about an hour later and had to parade by the celebration, so hopefully, that will inspire them to live up to expectations.
I bring up the Tigers because it is rumored that Stanley will be on the mound tonight to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Don't have confirmation of this but since the Ilitch's own both teams, it seems reasonable to think Stanley would get a night out at the ball park.
Also, Stanley, Ozzie, and Zetterberg are scheduled to appear on Jay Leno's show on Tuesday. Hope they take clips of today's wonderful riot for him to view.