"To this day, I have never watched the replay of the game because I have great fear that it’s going to end differently," he told fans at a Northwest Side Blackhawks rally Saturday afternoon.
But it's no dream — McDonough has brought the Cup back to his home neighborhood of Edison Park twice now.
"I'm proud to be from Edison Park," he said to the crowd of about 1,000 in Brooks Park, 7100 N. Harlem Ave. "Nothing makes me happier today than to see this throng of Blackhawks fans, these very, very young faces that are going to be our future fans."
McDonough said he learned important lessons growing up in Edison Park. He saw "an incredible work ethic, a day-in-and-day-out intensity," and learned "a sense of humility and pride" at St. Juliana and Notre Dame High School, his alma maters.
McDonough hoped the young fans at the rally would learn the same lessons.
"To all the kids at today’s rally, allow yourself to have big dreams, they just might come true," he said before hoisting the Stanley Cup in the air to cheers.
As the crowd thinned and Lord Stanley's Cup headed back into a black SUV, Rebecca Slywczuk and Alyson Herrera, both 11, got to briefly touch the famous trophy.
It was a dream come true — the girls both hopped on the phone to tell to family who weren't at the rally.
"My hand is still shaking," Rebecca said.
"I can literally smell the silver on my hand," Alyson said.
And even though their St. Tarcissus School is a rival to McDonough's alma mater St. Juliana's, they were inspired by his message to young fans.
"To think that he went to a school just like us and how he is the president of the Blackhawks," Rebecca said. "To think where he came from."
Alyson plans to teach special needs children or work as a fashion designer. Rebecca also wants to teach, but she has a goal in mind even bigger than being president of a professional sports team:
"I want to be the first lady president," she said.
But unlike McDonough, the girls can't get enough of the exciting 17-second timespan when the Hawks scored twice to beat the Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 of the finals.
The night of the win, amid fireworks, and pot-and-pan-clanging street celebrations throughout Edison Park, the girls couldn't believe it.
"I just recorded that, and I just kept playing it over and over," Rebecca said.