'The champs are here.' Around 60,000 pour into Hartford for UConn Huskies victory parade

A victory parade and rally were held from the state Capitol to the XL Center.

Tom Krosnowski, Robyn Karashik and Rose Shannon

Apr 13, 2024, 4:56 PM

Updated 36 days ago

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The UConn Huskies men’s basketball team and their fans gathered in Hartford on Saturday to celebrate their second consecutive national championship.
“UConn brought everyone together and we did it this year,” said a Hartford bartender. “Everybody’s excited and everybody wants to celebrate. I’m hoping for a good turnout – Hartford needs it.”
The estimated turnout was around 60,000 people, according to Hartford police.
“Hey America, this is what the basketball capital of America looks like right here. Let’s hear it for the Huskies,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.
“Every arena we went into on the road – MSG, Brooklyn, Boston and Phoenix – we said the same thing every time we walked into the arena – ‘The champs are here!’ The champs are here today in Hartford,” said head coach Dan Hurley.
For some in the crowd, this was their first UConn championship parade. Others have been to all six for the men’s team.
For Donovan Clingan, a sophomore center, and Tristen Newton, a graduate guard, this is their second and final national championship.
Clingan announced his entrance into the NBA draft on Friday. For Hurley, he said he doesn’t think this year’s win will be his last.
“Next year, we’re going for the three-peat. Let’s go!” said Hurley.
This year’s UConn team was the most dominant in program history after a 37-3 record, as well as the first men’s repeat title since the Florida Gators in 2007. It’s also the largest margin of victory in tournament history. The team said getting to that point was completely a team effort.
“I was only here for a year, but I’ll be a Husky for life. Thank you for everything,” said guard Cam Spencer.
“Without you guys, back-to-back wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you for everything,” said Newton.
“You’ve been the best fans to me for the past two years, I’ll cherish those moments for the rest of my life. I’ll be a Husky for life, I love you guys,” said Clingan.


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