Early morning start times for USA hockey games halfway around the world will not deter the hockey faithful in Chicago. Seen here is the crowd at Diag Bar & Grill just ahead of Thursday morning's 6:30 am puck drop against Slovakia. The resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks has really revitalized the love for the sport of hockey in this city, and the turnout of upwards of 35 people for a pre-dawn preliminary round game is all the proof you need of that.
Even though Slovakia has two representatives from the Blackhawks (Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus) to USA's one (Patrick Kane), the American jingoism was as fervent as ever, with occasional, audible apologies to Hossa heard throughout the establishment as we all rooted for his team to get flattened.
The spread was out for those that braved the early call time: full bloody mary bar, eggs, bacon, doughnuts, and of course, plenty of beer. Everyone showed up decked out in red, white, and blue, and even the servers were getting into the spirit:
Some in attendance decided on a more glamorous method of supporting the U.S.A., as seen here with the fancy nail art stylings of Ashley Gregory and her Team USA nails:
After a bit of a feeling-out process and getting their heads together in the first period, Team USA exploded for a six goal second, the entire population of the bar losing their minds each time. There were shots, there were stacks of napkins thrown like confetti and, after the third goal, there was even a road flare.
Between the various, seemingly non-stop goal celebrations and A/V accompaniment by JC Coffman, it felt more like an afternoon playoff game than a pre-breakfast prelim. We're going to do it all again Saturday and Sunday morning, so if you want to join us, give them a call because seating will be limited to reservations only due to high demand. Come on out and cheer on the stars and stripes with us! USA! USA! USA!