The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional hockey team, first established in 1922.
|For current sports news on this topic, see
2009–10 Chicago Blackhawks season
|History||Chicago Black Hawks
1926 - 1986
|Home Arena||United Center|
|Colors||Tomato Red, Black, and White|
|Media||Comcast SportsNet Chicago
|General Manager||Stan Bowman|
|Head Coach||Joel Quenneville|
|Minor League Affiliates||Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Toledo Walleye (ECHL)
|Stanley Cups||1933–34, 1937–38, 1960–61|
|Division Championships||1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1982–83, 1985–86, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1992–93|
The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). They have won three Stanley Cup Championships and thirteen division titles since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the Original Six NHL teams, along with the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, and Detroit Red Wings. Since 1994, the Blackhawks have played their home games at the United Center after having spent over 60 years playing at Chicago Stadium.
The Chicago Black Hawks joined the NHL in 1926 as part of the league's successful foray into United States-based teams. They were founded by coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin. Most of the Hawks' original players came from the Portland Rosebuds of the Western Canada Hockey League, which had folded the previous season.
McLaughlin had been a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the U.S. 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This Division was nicknamed the "Blackhawk Division", after a Native American of the Sauk nation, Chief Black Hawk, who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. McLaughlin evidently named the hockey team in honour of the military unit, making it one of many sports team names using Native Americans as icons. For many years, the name was spelled primarily "Black Hawks", but sometimes "Blackhawks", even by the club itself. This ambiguity was finally settled in the summer of 1986 when the club officially decided on the one-word version based on the spelling found in the original franchise documents.
McLaughlin took a very active role in running the team despite knowing very little about hockey. For most of his tenure as owner, he served as his own general manager. He was also very interested in promoting American hockey players, then very rare in professional hockey. Several of them, including Doc Romnes, Taffy Abel, Alex Levinsky, Mike Karakas, Cully Dahlstrom and numerous others, become staples with the club, and under McLaughlin, the Black Hawks were the first NHL team to field an all-American-born lineup.
The Hawks' first season was a moderate success, with the forward line of Mickey MacKay, Babe Dye, and Dick Irvin each finishing near the top of the league's scoring race. The Black Hawks lost their 1927 first-round playoff series to the Boston Bruins, who had made the playoffs for the first time ever. The Blackhawks were considered the worst team in the NHL at that time.
Following the series, McLaughlin fired head coach Pete Muldoon. According to Jim Coleman, sportswriter for the Toronto Globe and Mail, McLaughlin felt the 'Hawks were good enough to finish first. Muldoon disagreed, and in a fit of pique, McLaughlin fired him. According to Coleman, Muldoon responded by yelling, "Fire me, Major, and you'll never finish first. I'll put a curse on this team that will hoodoo it until the end of time." The Curse of Muldoon was born - although Coleman admitted years after the fact that he had fabricated the whole incident - and became one of the first widely-known sports "curses." While the team would go on to win three Stanley Cups, it did so without having finished in first place, either in a single- or multi-division format.
The 'Hawks proceeded to have the worst record in the league in 1927–28. By 1931, they reached their first Stanley Cup Final, with goal-scorer Johnny Gottselig, Cy Wentworth on defense, and Charlie Gardiner in goal, but fizzled in the final two games against the Montreal Canadiens. Chicago had another stellar season in 1932, but that did not translate into playoff success.
In 1938 the Black Hawks had a record of 14–25, and only barely made the playoffs. They stunned the Canadiens and New York Americans on overtime goals in the deciding games of both semifinal series, advancing to the Cup Final against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Black Hawks goalie Mike Karakas was injured and could not play, forcing a desperate Chicago team to pull minor-leaguer Alfie Moore out of a Toronto bar and onto the ice. Moore played one game and won it, but repeating the plan with another player failed as the Hawks lost the game. However, for Games 3 and 4, Karakas was fitted with a special skate to protect his injured toe, and won both games. It was too late for Toronto, as the Hawks won their second championship. To this day, the 1938 Black Hawks possess the poorest regular-season record of any Stanley Cup champion.
The Black Hawks returned to the Final in 1944 behind Bill Mosienko and Doug Bentley's 30-goal seasons and their linemate Clint Smith leading the league in assists. After upsetting the Red Wings in the semifinals, they were promptly dispatched by the dominant Canadiens in four games. Mosienko still holds the record for quickest hat trick, 21 seconds, in the NHL, but Habs star Maurice "The Rocket" Richard proved to be Mosienko's better.
Owner and founder Frederic McLaughlin died in 1944. His estate sold the team to a syndicate headed by longtime team president Bill Tobin. However, Tobin was only a puppet for Red Wings owner James E. Norris, who had been the Black Hawks' landlord since his 1936 purchase of Chicago Stadium. For the next eight years, the Norris-Tobin ownership, as a rule, paid almost no attention to the Black Hawks. Nearly every trade made between Detroit and Chicago ended up being Red Wing heists. As a result, for the next several years, Chicago was the model of futility in the NHL. Between 1945 and 1958, they only made the playoffs twice.
Upon Norris' death, his eldest son, James D. Norris, and Red Wings minority owner Arthur Wirtz (the senior Norris' original partner in buying the Red Wings 23 years earlier) took over the floundering club. They guided it through financial reverses, and rebuilt the team from there. One of their first moves was to hire former Detroit coach and GM Tommy Ivan as general manager.
In the late 1950s, the Hawks struck gold, picking up three young prospects (forwards Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita and defenseman Pierre Pilote), as well as obtaining both star goaltender Glenn Hall and veteran forward Ted Lindsay (who had just had a career season with 30 goals and 55 assists) from Detroit. Hull, Mikita, Pilote, and Hall became preeminent stars in Chicago, and all four would eventually be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
After two first-round exits at the hands of the eventual champions from Montreal in 1959 and 1960, it was expected that the Canadiens would once again beat the Hawks when they met in the semifinals in 1961. A defensive plan that completely wore down Montreal's superstars worked, however, as Chicago won the series in six games. They then bested the Wings to win their third (and, as of 2008, most recent) Stanley Cup championship. In the 25 years of the Original Six era, this was the only time a team other than Montreal, Toronto, or Detroit won the Cup.
The Hawks made the Cup Finals twice more in the 1960s, losing to the Leafs in 1962 and the Habs in 1965. They remained a force to be reckoned with throughout the decade, with Hull enjoying four 50-goal seasons, Mikita winning back-to-back scoring titles and MVP accolades, Pilote winning three consecutive Norris Trophies, and Hall being named the First or Second All-Star goaltender eight out of nine seasons. Hull and Mikita especially were widely regarded as the most feared one-two punch in the league. However, despite a strong supporting cast which included Bill Hay, Ken Wharram, Phil Esposito, Moose Vasko, Doug Mohns, and Pat Stapleton, the Hawks never quite put it all together.
In 1967, the last season of the six-team NHL, the Hawks finished first, breaking the supposed Curse of Muldoon, 23 years after the death of Frederic McLaughlin. However, they lost in the semifinals to Toronto, who went on to win their last Stanley Cup to date. Afterward, Coleman, who first printed the story of the curse in 1943, admitted that he made the story up to break a writer's block he had as a column deadline approached.
Hall was drafted by the expansion St. Louis Blues for the 1967–68 season, while Pilote was traded to the Maple Leafs for Jim Pappin in 1968. In that season, despite Hull breaking his own previous record of 54 goals in a season with 58, the Black Hawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 1958 — and the last time before 1998.
In 1967, the Black Hawks made a trade with the Boston Bruins that turned out to be one of the most one-sided in the history of the sport. Chicago sent young forwards Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston in exchange for Pit Martin, Jack Norris and Gilles Marotte. While Martin would star for the Hawks for many seasons, Esposito, Hodge, and Stanfield would lead the Bruins to the top of the league for several years and capture two Stanley Cups. In Boston, Phil Esposito set numerous scoring records en route to a career as one of the NHL's all-time greats.
Nonetheless, in 1971, life was made easier for Chicago, as in an attempt to better balance the divisions, the expansion Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks were both placed in the East Division, while the Hawks moved into the West Division. They became the class of the West overnight, rampaging to a 46–17–15 record and an easy first-place finish. With second-year goalie Tony Esposito (Phil's younger brother and winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year the previous season), Hull, his younger brother Dennis, Mikita, and sterling defensemen Stapleton and Bill White, the Hawks reached the Stanley Cup final before bowing out to the Canadiens. Montreal veteran Henri Richard admitted later, "I could have been a bum, and instead, I was a hero."
A critical blow to the franchise came in 1972, though, with the start of the World Hockey Association. Long dissatisfied with how little he was paid as the league's marquee star, Bobby Hull jumped to the upstart Winnipeg Jets for a million-dollar contract. Former Philadelphia Flyers star Andre Lacroix, who received very little ice time in his single season in Chicago, joined Hull, and the pair became two of the WHA's great stars. The Hawks repeated their appearance in Cup Final that year, however, again losing to Montreal. Stapleton left for the WHA too after that year, depleting the team further.
While the team led or was second in the West Division for four straight seasons, for the rest of the 1970s, the Black Hawks made the playoffs each year - winning seven division championships in the decade in all - but were never a successful Stanley Cup contender, losing 16 straight playoff games at one point. The team acquired legendary blueliner Bobby Orr from the Boston Bruins in 1976, but ill health forced him to sit out for most of the season, and he eventually retired in 1979, having played only 26 games for the Hawks. Mikita did the same the following year after playing 22 years in Chicago, the third-longest career for a single team in league history.
By 1982, the Black Hawks squeaked into the playoffs as the 4th seed in the Norris Division (at the time the top four teams in each division automatically made the playoffs), and were one of the league's Cinderella teams that year. Led by second-year Denis Savard's 32 goals and 119 points and Doug Wilson's 39 goals, the Hawks stunned the Minnesota North Stars and Blues in the playoffs before losing to another surprise team, the Vancouver Canucks, who made the Stanley Cup Finals. Chicago proved they were no fluke the next season, also making the third round before losing to the eventual runner-up Edmonton Oilers. After an off-year in 1984, the Hawks again faced a now fresh-off-a-ring Edmonton offensive juggernaut of a team and lost in the third round in 1985.
In 1986, while going through the team's records, someone discovered the team's original NHL contract, and found that the name "Blackhawks" was printed as a compound word as opposed to two separate words ("Black Hawks") which was the way most sources had been printing it and as the team had always officially listed it. The name officially became "Chicago Blackhawks" from that point on.
In the late 1980s, Chicago still made the playoffs on an annual basis, but made early-round exits each time.
In 1989, after three straight first-round defeats, and despite a fourth-place finish in their division in the regular season, Chicago made it to the Conference Final in the rookie seasons of both goalie Ed Belfour and center Jeremy Roenick. Once again though, they would fail to make the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the eventual champion Calgary Flames.
The following season the Hawks did prove they were late-round playoff material, running away with the Norris Division title, but, yet again, the third round continued to stymie them, this time against the Oilers, despite 1970s Soviet star goaltender Vladislav Tretiak coming to Chicago to become the Blackhawks' goaltender coach.
In 1991, Chicago was poised to fare even better in the playoffs, winning the Presidents' Trophy for best regular-season record, but the Cinderella Minnesota North Stars stunned them in six games in the first-round en route to an improbable Stanley Cup Final appearance.
In 1992 the Blackhawks, with Roenick scoring 53 goals, Chris Chelios (acquired from Montreal two years previously) on defense, and Belfour in goal, finally reached the Final after 19 years out of such status. However, they were swept four games to none by the Mario Lemieux-led defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Although the 4–0 sweep would normally indicate Pittsburgh dominance, it was actually a close series that could have gone either way. Game 1 saw the Blackhawks squander leads of 3–0 and 4–1, and would eventually be beaten 5–4 after a Lemieux power-play goal with 9 seconds remaining in regulation. The Blackhawks most lackluster game was Game 2, losing 3–1. A frustrating loss of 1–0 followed in game 3, and a natural hat trick from Dirk Graham and stellar play from Dominik Hasek (who showed indications of the goaltender he would later become) could not secure a win in game 4, which ended in 6–5 final in favor of Pittsburgh.
Belfour posted a 40-win season in 1993 as the Hawks looked to go deep yet again, and Chelios accumulated career-high penalty time with 282 minutes in the box, but St. Louis stunned Chicago with a first-round sweep.
After a near-.500 season in 1994, the Blackhawks moved out of the old Chicago Stadium and into the new United Center in the lockout-shortened 1995 season. Bernie Nicholls and Joe Murphy both scored 20 goals over 48 games, and Chicago once again made it to the Western Conference Final, losing to the rival Detroit Red Wings.
Roenick, Belfour, and Chelios were all traded away as the Blackhawks faltered through the late 1990s until they missed the playoffs in 1998 for the first time in 29 years, one season short of tying the Boston Bruins' record for the longest such streak in North American professional sports history.
The millennium has largely been a disappointing time for the Hawks thus far. Eric Daze, Alexei Zhamnov, and Tony Amonte emerged as some of the team's leading stars by this time. However, aside from a quick first-round exit in 2002, the team has not returned to the playoffs, in most years finishing well out of contention. Amonte left for the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 2002.
A somber note was struck in February 2004, when ESPN named the Blackhawks the worst franchise in professional sports. Indeed, the Blackhawks were viewed with much indifference by Chicagoans for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, due to anger over several policies instituted by late owner Bill Wirtz (derisively known as "Dollar Bill"). For example, Wirtz raised ticket prices to an average of $50, and did not allow home games to be televised in the Chicago area. Many hockey fans in Chicago prefer the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves to the Hawks, who have advertised themselves by saying "We Play Hockey the Old-Fashioned Way: We Actually Win." The club under Wirtz was then subject of a highly critical book, Career Misconduct, sold outside games until Wirtz had its author and publisher arrested.
Following the lockout of the 2004–05 season, new GM Dale Tallon set about restructuring the team in the hopes of making a playoff run. Tallon made several moves in the summer of 2005, most notably the signing of Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and All-Star defenseman Adrian Aucoin. However, injuries plagued Khabibulin and Aucoin (among others), and the Blackhawks again finished with one of the worst records in the league (26–43–13) — next-to-last in the Western Conference and twenty seventh in the league.
The Blackhawks reached another low point on May 16, 2006, when they announced that popular TV/radio play-by-play announcer Pat Foley was not going to be brought back after 25 years with the team, a move unpopular amongst most Blackhawks fans. Foley then became the television/radio voice of the Wolves.
The Blackhawks were eager to make a splash in the free-agent market, and offered big money to many of the top free agents. They were, however, denied, only being able to acquire two backup goalies in Patrick Lalime and Sebastien Caron. Chicago was one of the biggest buyers in the trade market, though, acquiring a future franchise player in left-winger Martin Havlat, as well as center Bryan Smolinski from the Ottawa Senators in a three-way deal that also involved the San Jose Sharks. The 'Hawks dealt mean forward Mark Bell to the Sharks, Michal Barinka and a 2008 second-round draft pick to the Senators, while Ottawa also received defenseman Tom Preissing and center Josh Hennessy from San Jose. Havlat gave the Blackhawks the talented, first-line caliber gamebreaker they so desperately needed. The Havlat trade was soon followed by another major trade — winger and key Blackhawk player, another left wing, Kyle Calder, was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for grinding defensive center Michal Handzus. The move caused a stir in Chicago. Calder had won an increase in his contract through arbitration, which was accepted by the Hawks, but rather than ink their leading scorer, the Blackhawks decided to address their need for a proven center by acquiring Handzus. Injuries to both Havlat and Handzus hurt the Blackhawks, and Smolinski was eventually traded at the trade deadline to the Vancouver Canucks. On November 26, 2006 Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon fired Head Coach Trent Yawney and appointed assistant coach Denis Savard as head coach. Savard had been the assistant coach of the Blackhawks since 1997, the year after he retired as one of the most popular and successful Blackhawks of all time. The Blackhawks continued to struggle, and finished last in the Central Division, 12 games out of the playoffs.
They finished with the fourth worst record in the league, and in the Draft Lottery, won the opportunity to select first overall in the draft, whereas the team had never had a draft pick higher than 3rd overall. They used the pick to draft center Patrick Kane from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
On September 26th, 2007 after a brief battle with cancer, longtime owner Wirtz died at age 77. During a tribute and moment of silence for him during the Blackhawks home opener on October 8th of that year, the Chicago crowd displayed their displeasure with Wirtz's operation of the organization by booing the proceedings. He was succeeded by his younger son, Rocky.
Soon after taking over, Rocky Wirtz reversed several of his father's longstanding policies. For example, the Blackhawks began airing select home games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago (only because the networks had filled most of their programming), of which Rocky is part-owner. In March 2008, it was announced that all Blackhawks games will be televised starting the 2008–09 season, with WGN-TV airing 20 games, this is the first time the team's games aired on WGN-TV since the end of the 1974–75 season, and the first free TV outlet for the team since the 1979–80 season, when WSNS-TV (Channel 44, now a Telemundo station) aired the Hawks road games. He has also named Chicago Cubs president John McDonough as the new Blackhawks president. McDonough was the architect of the Cubs' incredible marketing machine established in the 1980s and 1990's. Radio rights moved to WGN-AM for the 2008-09 season as well. Former greats Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, who had wanted nothing to do with the team under Bill Wirtz, have returned as "ambassadors" for the franchise, as has Tony Esposito. After a slow start, the Hawks rallied to finish with their first winning record since 2002. Playing in the tough Western Conference, it was not enough to make the playoffs; they finished three points behind the Nashville Predators for the last spot.
On February 13th, the Blackhawks announced they would hold their first annual fan convention.
On February 26th, the Blackhawks traded their longest tenured player, Tuomo Ruutu, to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Andrew Ladd. Ruutu was a former 1st round (9th overall) pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. That same day, the Hawks traded alternate captain Martin Lapointe to the Ottawa Senators for a 6th round draft pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
On July 16th, it was announced that the Blackhawks would host the 2009 NHL Winter Classic on a temporary ice rink at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs on New Years Day (January 1st, 2009) against fellow "Original Six" member and divisional rivals the Detroit Red Wings.
On June 16th, Pat Foley was hired to replace Dan Kelly as the Blackhawks TV play-by-play man. Foley had been fired two years before and had been calling games for the Chicago Wolves since then. 
Like all NHL teams for the 2007–08 NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks unveiled Rbk Edge jerseys from the Reebok Company. Unlike other clubs, Chicago did not deviate much from previous jerseys with small exceptions:
It is expected that the Blackhawks will bring back their black third jerseys for several games in 2008-09 after a one-year absence, and wear a replica of their 1940's "barber pole" sweaters for the Winter Classic game. The Blackhawks last wore those jerseys in the 1993-94 season as part of the final season of "The Madhouse on Madison Street" against the Detroit Red Wings.
McLaughlin's wife, Irene Castle, designed the original version of the team's logo, which survived, with only minor changes, until 1955. The circle around the head was removed that season, and the basic logo and jersey design has remained fairly constant since then. The striping has changed over the years and a shoulder patch logo was added.
The Blackhawks mascot is Tommy Hawk, a hawk, as in a bird, who wears the Blackhawks' 4 feathers on his head, along with a Blackhawks jersey and hockey pants. Tommy Hawk often participates in the T-shirt toss and puck chuck at the United Center. He walks around the concourse greeting fans before and during the game. The Hawks introduced Tommy in the 2001–02 season. His oversized jersey has "WWW" William Wadsworth Wirtz and American flag patch on it. The Hawks have had two giveaways featuring Tommy Hawk items. The first was a bobble-head doll and the second was a Mountain Dew sponsored Tommy Hawk water bottle.
For the first time in team history, all 82 games plus playoffs will be broadcast on Television during the 2008-2009 season. At least 20 of which will be on WGN Channel 9. The others will air on Comcast Sports Net Chicago. For the last 8 seasons, the teams radio affiliate was WSCR 670 The Score. On April 30th, 2008, the team signed a three year deal with WGN 720 AM.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Blackhawks. For the full season-by-season history, see Chicago Blackhawks seasons
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|2002–03||82||30||33||13||6||79||207||226||1189||3rd, Central||Did not qualify|
|2003–04||82||20||43||11||8||59||188||259||1318||5th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2004–05||Season canceled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout|
|2005–061||82||26||43||—||13||65||211||285||1518||4th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2006–07||82||31||42||—||9||71||201||258||1330||5th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2007–08||82||40||34||-||8||88||239||235||1292||3rd, Central||Did not qualify|
|#||Player||Catches||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|39||Cristobal Huet||L||2008||Saint-Martin-d'Hères, France|
|31||Antti Niemi||L||2008||Vantaa, Finland|
|#||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|25||Cam Barker||R||2004||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|51||Brian Campbell||L||2008||Strathroy, Ontario|
|6||Jordan Hendry||L||2005||Nokomis, Saskatchewan|
|4||Niklas Hjalmarsson||L||2005||Eksjö, Sweden|
|2||Duncan Keith - A||L||2002||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|7||Brent Seabrook||R||2003||Richmond, British Columbia|
|5||Brent Sopel||R||2007||Calgary, Alberta|
|#||Player||Position||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|25||Dave Bolland (IR)||C||R||2004||Etobicoke, Ontario|
|22||Troy Brouwer||RW||R||2004||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|37||Adam Burish (IR)||RW||R||2002||Madison, Wisconsin|
|33||Dustin Byfuglien||LW||R||2003||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|55||Ben Eager||LW||L||2007||Ottawa, Ontario|
|46||Colin Fraser||C||L||2004||Sicamous, British Columbia|
|81||Marian Hossa||RW||L||2009||Stara Lubovna, Czechoslovakia|
|88||Patrick Kane||RW||L||2007||Buffalo, New York|
|82||Tomas Kopecky||C/LW||L||2009||Ilava, Czechoslovakia|
|16||Andrew Ladd||LW||L||2008||Maple Ridge, British Columbia|
|11||John Madden||C||L||2009||Barrie, Ontario|
|10||Patrick Sharp - A||C||R||2005||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|19||Jonathan Toews C||C||L||2006||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|32||Kris Versteeg||LW||R||2007||Lethbridge, Alberta|
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Blackhawks player