On Fire: Hockey night at Toyota Park

Fire, Union each show support for their hometown hockey teams


Hockey night in…Toyota Park?

The Fire marketing department didn’t advertise Saturday’s meeting between the Fire and the Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park as “Hockey night,” but they might as well have.

Philadelphia and Chicago --whose hockey teams, the Flyers and the Blackhawks, are currently facing off in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals-- had a hockey theme going for the game.

The Fratellis song “Chelsea Dagger” --played whenever the Blackhawks score a home goal-- blared across the Toyota Park loudspeakers after midfielder Marco Pappa put the Fire up 2-0 in the 74th minute.

But the hockey vibe extended beyond the PA system, as the fans and players got into the act as well.

The Union sported bright orange Flyers t-shirts during the national anthem and several Fire players --including midfielder Peter Lowry, whose San Jose Sharks were ousted by the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals-- broadcasted their well-wishes to Chicago’s hockey heroes on the Jumbotron prior to kickoff.

The Section 8 supporters group called out the entire city of Philadelphia with several chants. Also, a large banner emblazed with the Fire and Blackhawks logos inscribed with “Two teams, One goal: Victory” hung over the railing of Toyota Park’s upper deck.

“It was pretty cool,” Fire midfielder Justin Mapp said of the hockey events. “Hopefully the Blackhawks come out on top. It would be good for the city.”

Given all the love for hockey going around Chicago, the Fire might be a bit worried about attendance at their next match. They host Colorado on Wednesday night at 9 pm ET, exactly one hour after the puck drops in Philadelphia for Game 6 of the Cup Finals.

The sick and the injured

Forward Collins John revealed after Saturday night’s match against the Philadelphia Union that he is dealing with an illness that has kept him off the gameday roster for the Fire’s last two matches.

“I’m not well,” John said. “It’s kind of scary, so I guess I got to leave it to that.”

Still out is Fire midfielder John Thorrington, who has yet to play in a match this season. Thorrington is dealing with a left quad tear and told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday that he won’t be available for Wednesday’s game against the Rapids. He hopes to progress during the World Cup break and get back onto the field shortly after Chicago resume league play on June 27.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com.