Everyone Loves Detroit's Parade

Posted: June 11, 1997

A red sea of hockey worshipers parted yesterday for the Detroit Red Wings, who paraded through some 1 million fans as the silver Stanley Cup that eluded the franchise for 42 years sparkled under cloudless skies.

``For all Red Wings fans, this is your day in the sun,'' coach Scotty Bowman told the screaming throngs at a Hart Plaza rally that followed the two-hour parade down Woodward Avenue.

The players and coaches rode in red convertibles, feted for their sweep of the Flyers on Saturday night that ended an NHL championship drought dating to 1955.

``Even though our names are going on the trophy, we couldn't have done it without you,'' forward Darren McCarty told the crowd.

Police said there were no arrests. In the hours after the Game 4 victory, fewer than two dozen were arrested, all for minor offenses.

The streets were a surging sea of red and white - Red Wings T-shirts, jerseys, hats and banners. Somebody waved a flag from the former Soviet Union, the homeland of five Detroit players, from a hockey stick.

``Take a look at that crowd,'' team owner Mike Ilitch crowed from the Hart Plaza podium. ``We've got more fans in Detroit than they've got in the whole NHL.''

The crowd began gathering shortly after daybreak.

The players, some accompanied by girlfriends or wives and children, wore T-shirts and dark glasses. Some pointed camcorders at the crowd to make their own souvenirs. Viacheslav Fetisov, one of the ``Russian Five,'' carried a handmade sign: ``We [red heart] our fans.''

Bringing up the rear with Ilitch was Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who held the 35-pound Stanley Cup aloft amid deafening cheers. As Yzerman crept toward Hart Plaza, the crowd swarmed curbside barricades, heading to his car as he raised the Cup again and again.

``I didn't think anything could top Saturday night,'' Yzerman said. ``But I've got to tell you, coming down Woodward Avenue today was the icing on the cake. I'll never forget it.''

SABRES: SET ON GM? The Buffalo Sabres will hire former New York Islanders assistant general manager Darcy Regier to become the team's next general manager, sources told the Associated Press.

Regier, 40, was selected about a month after John Muckler was fired amid feuds with coach Ted Nolan and team president Larry Quinn.

The Sabres have said they want to hire Muckler's replacement before the NHL Draft on June 21.

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