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Art Institute Lions Show Off Their Blackhawks Pride

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The bronze lion statues outside the Art Institute of Chicago got ready for the Blackhawks fight for the Stanley Cup, donning team helmets ahead of the Stanley Cup Final opener on Wednesday.

Many passersby snapped photos as workers placed giant Blackhawks helmets on the two lion statues standing guard outside the Art Institute, and posted their snapshots on Facebook and Twitter.

“I think everybody at the Art Institute is very proud to be a Chicagoan. We’re extremely proud of our lions being an iconic piece of Chicago life, and we are just thrilled when Chicago’s on the national stage with a sports championship,” Art Institute spokeswoman Erin Hogan said.

One woman who got a photo of the lions said she wished she had friends in Boston so she could email them the pictures to rub their noses in it.

Hogan said the helmets are the same ones the lions wore three years ago, when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

The Art Institute takes similar steps when Chicago’s other sports teams reach their respective championships – for example, donning Bears helmets when the Monsters of the Midway went to the Super Bowl in 1986 and 2007, and when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005.

Once the Stanley Cup Final ends, the museum plans to put the Blackhawks helmets back in storage in case they’re needed again.

“We’re going to keep them on hand, because there’s this year, and of course always next year,” she said.

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