Parade crowds

ST. LOUIS (AP) — It rained on the Blues' parade, but nobody seemed to mind.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of downtown St. Louis and braved the rain on Saturday to cheer on the Stanley Cup champs, who concluded the festivities with a packed rally beneath the Gateway Arch.

The Blues ended one of sports' longest championship droughts on Wednesday by beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, the first title for a franchise that joined the NHL 52 years ago.

Blues Stanley Cup Celebration Hockey

St. Louis Blues defenseman and captain Alex Pietrangelo carries the Stanley Cup during the Blues' NHL hockey Stanley Cup victory celebration in St. Louis on Saturday, June 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The long-awaited championship stirred strong emotions in St. Louis, a city still smarting from the departure of the NFL's Rams in 2016. The loss of the football team seemed to strengthen fans bonds to the Blues and their beloved baseball team, the Cardinals.

Ryan Korte, a 56-year-old letter carrier from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, said he wasn't sure he'd ever get to see the Blues win the cup.