Chicago Black Hawks 1926–1986 Chicago Blackhawks 1986–present
Stanley Cup wins
2015, 2013, 2010, 1961, 1938, 1934
The Chicago Blackhawks (spelled Black Hawks until 1986, and known colloquially as the Hawks) 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 six Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Since 1994, the club's home rink is the United Center. The club had previously played for 65 years at Chicago Stadium.
- Nhl rivals chicago blackhawks detroit red wings
- The McLaughlin era 19261944
- The Norris era 19441966
- 1961 Cup win
- The Bill Wirtz era 19662007
- 200910 The Stanley Cup returns to Chicago
- 201213 Presidents Trophy and The Stanley Cup
- 201415 Sixth Stanley Cup
- Fight song
- National anthem
- Circus trip
- Media and announcers
- Season by season record
- Current roster
- Retired numbers
- Franchise scoring leaders
The club's original owner was Frederic McLaughlin, who owned the club until his death in 1944. Under McLaughlin, a "hands-on" owner who fired many coaches during his ownership, the club won two Stanley Cup titles. The club was then owned by the Norris family, who as owners of the Chicago Stadium were the club's landlord, and owned stakes in several of the NHL teams. At first, the Norris ownership was as part of a syndicate fronted by long-time executive Bill Tobin, and the team languished in favor of the Norris-owned Detroit Red Wings. After the senior James E. Norris died in 1952, the Norris assets were spread among family members and James D. Norris became owner. Norris Jr. took an active interest in the team and under his ownership, the club won one Stanley Cup title in 1961.
After James D. Norris died in 1966, the Wirtz family became owners of the franchise. In 2007, the club came under the control of Rocky Wirtz, who is credited with turning around the organization, which had lost fan interest and competitiveness. Under Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times within six seasons (from 2010 to 2015).
Nhl rivals chicago blackhawks detroit red wings
On May 1, 1926, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise for Chicago to a syndicate headed by former football star Huntington Hardwick of Boston. At the same meeting, Hardwick arranged the purchase of the players of the Portland Rosebuds of the Western Hockey League for $100,000 from WHL President Frank Patrick in a deal brokered by Boston Bruins' owner Charles Adams. However, only one month later, Hardwick's group sold out to Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin.
McLaughlin had been a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This Division was nicknamed the "Blackhawk Division" after a Native American of the Sauk nation, Black Hawk, who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. McLaughlin named the new hockey team in honor of the military unit, making it one of many sports team names using Native Americans as icons. However, unlike the military division, the team's name was spelled in two words as the "Black Hawks" until 1986, when the club officially became the "Blackhawks," based on the spelling found in the original franchise documents.
The Black Hawks began play in the 1926–27 season, along with new expansion franchises Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers. McLaughlin took a very active role in running the team despite having no background in the sport. McLaughlin hired Bill Tobin, a former goaltender who had played in the Western league, as his assistant, but directed the team himself. 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 and Cully Dahlstrom, become staples with the club, and under McLaughlin, the Black Hawks were the first NHL team with an all-American-born lineup.
The McLaughlin era (1926–1944)
The Hawks' first season was a moderate success. They played their first game on November 17 when they played the Toronto St. Patricks in the Chicago Coliseum. The Black Hawks won their first game 4–1, in front of a crowd of over 7,000. They ended up finishing the season in third place with a record of 19–22–3. The Black Hawks lost the 1927 first-round playoff series to the Boston Bruins.
Following the series, McLaughlin fired Head Coach Pete Muldoon. According to Jim Coleman, sportswriter for the Toronto-based 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 in its first 39 years of existence, it did so without ever having finished in first place, either in a single- or multi-division format. The Black Hawks proceeded to have the worst record in the League in 1927–28, winning only seven of 44 games.
For the 1928–29 season, the Black Hawks were originally slated to play in the new Chicago Stadium, but due to construction delays and a dispute between McLaughlin and Chicago Stadium promoter Paddy Harmon, the Black Hawks instead divided their time between the Coliseum, the Detroit Olympia and the Peace Bridge Arena in Fort Erie, Ontario. They moved to Chicago Stadium the following season.
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. However, two years later, Gardiner led his team to victory by shutting out the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals. The score after double overtime was 1–0.
In 1938, the Black Hawks had a record of 14–25–9, and almost missed the playoffs. They stunned the Canadiens and New York Americans on overtime goals in the deciding games of both semi-final 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 (Pittsburgh Hornets) Alfie Moore out of a Toronto bar and onto the ice. Moore played one game and won it. Toronto refused to let Moore play the next, and Chicago used Paul Goodman in game two and lost the game. However, for games three and four, Karakas was fitted with a special skate to protect his injured toe, and the team won both games. It was too late for Toronto, as the Hawks won their second championship. As of 2014, the 1938 Black Hawks possess the poorest regular-season record of any Stanley Cup champion.
The Black Hawks returned to the Finals in 1944 behind Doug Bentley's 38-goal season with linemate Clint Smith leading the team in assists. After upsetting the Red Wings in the semi-finals, they were promptly dispatched by the dominant Canadiens in four games.
The Norris era (1944–1966)
Owner and founder Frederic McLaughlin died in December 1944. His estate sold the team to a syndicate headed by longtime team president Bill Tobin. However, Tobin was only a puppet for James E. Norris, who owned the rival Red Wings. Norris had also 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 General Manager 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.
1961 Cup win
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 Stanley Cup championship.
The Hawks made the Cup Finals twice more in the 1960s, losing to the Leafs in 1962 and the Canadiens 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 1966–67, the last season of the six-team NHL, the Black 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.
James D. Norris died in 1966. One of his last moves in the NHL was to arrange an expansion franchise in St. Louis, where he owned the St. Louis Arena. Tobin died in 1963, a club vice-president until his death. The ownership of the Black Hawks now came under the control of Arthur Wirtz and his son Bill Wirtz.
The Bill Wirtz era (1966–2007)
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 the 1968–69 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 1997–98.
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 Phil 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 1970–71 NHL season, 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, Keith Magnuson and Bill White, the Hawks reached the Stanley Cup final before bowing out to the Canadiens.
A critical blow to the franchise came in 1972–73, 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 fourth 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 1983, Arthur Wirtz died and the club came under the sole control of Bill Wirtz. Although the Black Hawks continued to make the playoffs each season, the club began a slow decline, punctuated with an appearance in the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals.
During the 1985 playoff series against Edmonton, the Black Hawks and their fans started a tradition of cheering during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The cheering at the United Center has been known to reach up to 122 Decibels while during the anthem. While this action is not without controversy, as some people consider it disrespectful, the tradition continues to the present day. Many people have sung the "Star-Spangled Banner" for the Blackhawks since the tradition of cheering began, but the current full-time anthem singer is Jim Cornelison.
Moreover, prior to the 1986–87 season, 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 for 60 years 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 1988–89, 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, however, they would fail to make the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the eventual champions, the 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 eventual champion Oilers, despite 1970s Soviet star goaltender Vladislav Tretiak coming to Chicago to become the Blackhawks' goaltender coach.
In 1990–91, Chicago was poised to fare even better in the playoffs, winning the Presidents' Trophy for best regular-season record, but the Minnesota North Stars stunned them in six games in the first-round en route to an improbable Stanley Cup Final appearance.
In 1991–92 the Blackhawks – with Roenick scoring 53 goals, Steve Larmer scoring 29 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. The Blackhawks won 11 consecutive playoff games that year, which set an NHL record. However, they were swept four games to none by the Mario Lemieux-led defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins (who, in sweeping the Blackhawks, tied the record Chicago had set only days before). Although the 4–0 sweep indicates Pittsburgh's dominance in won games, 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 two, losing 3–1. A frustrating loss of 1–0 followed in game three, 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 four, which ended in 6–5 final in favor of Pittsburgh. The defending NBA champion Chicago Bulls were in their finals in 1992, but won their championship in six, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers. Although this was the only year the city of Chicago would host a concurrent NBA/NHL finals in the same year, Blackhawks head coach Mike Keenan would see this again in New York when he coached the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years two years later.
Belfour posted a 40-win season in 1992–93 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 to continue Chicago's playoff losing streak.
Although they finished near .500 in 1994, the Blackhawks again qualified for the playoffs. They were eliminated by eventual Western Conference finalist Toronto, but broke their playoff losing streak at 10 games with a game three win. It wasn't enough, however, and the Blackhawks fell in six games. The 1993–94 season also marked the Blackhawks' last at the old Chicago Stadium, and the team moved 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. Also in 1994, management fired Wayne Messmer, popular singer of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Roenick, Belfour and Chelios were all traded away as the Blackhawks faltered through the late 1990s until they missed the playoffs by five points 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. Chicago would also miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season in 1999, and would later miss the playoffs in 2000 and 2001.
The millennium started with disappointment for the Blackhawks. Éric 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 (where they lost to the Blues in five games after winning Game 1 of the series), the 'Hawks were consistently out of the playoffs from the 1997–98 season until the 2008–09 season, in most years finishing well out of contention, despite finishing in third place in the Central Division six times. Amonte left for the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 2002.
During the 2002–03 season, the Blackhawks finished third in the Central Division with 79 points, but would finish ninth in the Western Conference, which would make them miss the playoffs by 13 points.
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 then-owner Bill Wirtz (derisively known as "Dollar Bill"). For example, Wirtz did not allow home games to be televised in the Chicago area, claiming it was unfair to the team's season ticket holders. He also raised ticket prices to an average of $50, among the most expensive in the NHL. Many hockey fans in Chicago began supporting the American Hockey League (AHL)'s Chicago Wolves. For a time, the Wolves took a jab at the Hawks with the slogan, "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. In the 2003–04 season, the Blackhawks would finish last in the Western Conference, winning only 20 games.
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 goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and All-Star defenseman Adrian Aucoin. However, injuries plagued Khabibulin and Aucoin, among others, and the Blackhawks again finished well out of the playoffs with a 26–43–13 record – next-to-last in the Western Conference and the second-worst in the NHL.
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 Chicago Wolves.
With the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, the team selected Jonathan Toews, who led the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux hockey team to the 2006 NCAA Frozen Four.
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 goaltenders 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 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 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 General Manager Dale Tallon fired Head Coach Trent Yawney and appointed Assistant Coach Denis Savard as the 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 players of all time. The Blackhawks continued to struggle, and finished last in the Central Division, 12 points out of the playoffs.
They finished with the fourth worst record in the NHL, 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 third overall. They used the pick to draft right wing Patrick Kane from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
On September 26, 2007, Bill Wirtz, the longtime owner of the Blackhawks, died after a brief battle with cancer. He was succeeded by his son, Rocky, who drastically altered his father's long-standing policies.
Midway into the 2007–08 NHL season, the franchise experimented with a partnership with Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV by airing selected Blackhawks home games on television. During the next season, Comcast and WGN began airing all of the team's regular season games. Rocky also named John McDonough, formerly the president of the Chicago Cubs, as the franchise's new president. Since taking over the position, McDonough has been an instrumental figure in the Blackhawks current marketing success. Wirtz was also able to bring back former Blackhawks greats Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull, as the franchise's "hockey ambassadors."
In addition to the changes in the team's policies and front office, the younger Wirtz also made a concerted effort to rebuild the team. The Blackhawks roster was bolstered by the addition of Patrick Kane, the first overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who led all rookies in points. Kane and Jonathan Toews were finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL's best rookie. Kane ultimately beat his teammate for the award. Kane finished the 2007–08 season with 21 goals and 51 assists in 82 games. The Blackhawks finished with a record of 40–34–8, missing the playoffs by three points. The 2007–08 season marked the first time in six years that the team finished above .500.
The Blackhawks made several major roster changes before the 2008–09 NHL season. The team traded Tuomo Ruutu, their longest tenured player, to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Andrew Ladd on February 26, 2008. Later that day, the Blackhawks traded captain Martin Lapointe to the Ottawa Senators for a sixth-round draft pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. On the first day of free agency, July 1, the team signed goaltender Cristobal Huet to a four-year US$22.5 million contract, and later signed defenseman Brian Campbell to an eight-year, $56.8 million contract. The team also added former coaches Joel Quenneville and Scotty Bowman to their organization.
On February 13, 2008, the Blackhawks announced they would hold their first fan convention. On July 16, 2008, the team announced that they would host the 2009 NHL Winter Classic on a temporary ice rink at Wrigley Field on New Years Day against fellow "Original Six" member Detroit Red Wings. The Detroit Red Wings defeated Chicago, 6–4. On June 16, Pat Foley returned as the Blackhawks TV play-by-play man, replacing Dan Kelly. Foley called Blackhawk games from 1981 to 2006 and spent the next two years broadcasting for the Chicago Wolves. Foley was partnered with Eddie Olczyk to broadcast all of the Hawks games. The Blackhawks relieved Denis Savard of his head coaching duties, and replaced him with Joel Quenneville on October 16, 2008. Savard has since been brought back to the organization as an ambassador.
Prior to the 2008–09 season opener, the Blackhawks named Toews, at 20 years and 79 days, as the new captain, succeeding the traded Lapointe and making him the third-youngest captain at the time of appointment. The Blackhawks finished the 2008–2009 regular season in second place in their division, with a record of 46–24–12, putting them in fourth place in the Western Conference with 104 points. The Blackhawks clinched a playoff berth for the first time since the 2001–02 season with a 3–1 win over Nashville on April 3. On April 8, with a shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Blackhawks clinched their first 100-point season in 17 years. The Blackhawks beat the fifth-seeded Calgary Flames in six games to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 1996. The team proceeded to defeat the third-seeded Vancouver Canucks in six games. The Blackhawks played the then Stanley Cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings, for the Western Conference Championship. They lost the series to the Red Wings in five games.
During the 2008–09 season, the team led the League in home attendance with a total of 912,155, averaging 22,247 fans per game. This figure includes the 40,818 fans from the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. Therefore, the total attendance for games hosted at the United Center is 871,337, good for an average of 21,783 which still leads the league over Montreal's 21,273 average. The Blackhawks welcomed their one millionth fan of the season at the United Center before game six of the Western Conference semi-finals on May 11, 2009.
2009–10: The Stanley Cup returns to Chicago
Prior to the 2009–10 NHL season, the Blackhawks made another major free agent purchase, signing Marian Hossa to a 12-year contract worth US$62.8 million. The team also acquired Tomas Kopecky, John Madden, and Richard Petiot. In early July, general manager Dale Tallon and the Blackhawks management came under fire when the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) claimed the team did not submit offers to their restricted free agents before the deadline. In the worst-case scenario, the team's unsigned restricted free agents at the time, including Calder Memorial Trophy finalist Kris Versteeg, would have become unrestricted free agents. Despite the ordeal, the Blackhawks were able to sign Versteeg and all of their restricted free agents before the NHLPA could take further actions. On July 14, 2009, The Blackhawks demoted Tallon to the position of Senior Adviser. Stan Bowman, son of Scotty Bowman, was promoted to general manager. The Blackhawks continued to sell out games, with the best average attendance of 21,356 over Montreal's 21,273 in the NHL, and had a total of 854,267 excluding the playoffs. The Blackhawks reached the one million mark in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks.
The Blackhawks re-signed Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to contract extensions worth $31.5 million over five years, and Duncan Keith to a 13-year extension worth $72 million on December 1, 2009. On April 6, 2010, the Hawks won their 50th game of the 2009–10 season against the Dallas Stars, setting a new franchise record for wins in a season. The next night, April 7, the Hawks notched their 109th point of the season against the St. Louis Blues, setting another franchise record.
The Blackhawks made the playoffs for the second consecutive season with a regular-season record of 52–22–8. They defeated the Nashville Predators in six games in the first round, before defeating the third-seeded Canucks for the second straight year, again in six games. The Blackhawks then swept the top-seeded San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals.The team advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992, where they played the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blackhawks prevailed in six games to secure their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. The victory also ended the team's 49-year championship drought.
After losing the final game of the 2010–11 regular season at home to the Red Wings, the Blackhawks needed the Dallas Stars to either lose to the Minnesota Wild later that evening or at least have the game go into a shootout to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dallas lost 5–3, and the Blackhawks clinched the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference.
In the first round of the 2011 playoffs, the Blackhawks faced the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks. It was the third consecutive post-season the two teams faced each other. The Canucks built a 3–0 lead in the best-of-seven series before the Blackhawks were able to win three games in a row, becoming just the sixth (the feat was repeated in the second round that year by the Detroit Red Wings) team in NHL history to force a seventh game in a best-of-seven series after facing a 0–3 deficit. Alex Burrows won the seventh game for the Canucks in overtime, 2–1, to advance to the Western Conference Semifinal round. In the 2011 draft, they traded Troy Brouwer to the Washington Capitals for the 2011 26th overall pick and Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Rostislav Olesz. Their first round picks were Mark McNeill (18th overall) and Phillip Danault (26th overall, via Washington).
On March 31, 2012, the Blackhawks clinched the playoffs with a 5–4 win over the Nashville Predators. The win marked the Blackhawks fourth consecutive season making the playoffs. Eventually finishing with the sixth seed, they faced the Phoenix Coyotes in the opening round. The series, which Phoenix won in six games for their first playoff series win since the days of the old Winnipeg Jets, saw five of the six games going to overtime, with Bryan Bickell (game two) and Jonathan Toews (game five) scoring the only Blackhawk overtime winners of the series. The series was overshadowed however, by Raffi Torres' blindside hit on Marian Hossa in game three, forcing him out of the series with an upper body injury. Torres was suspended for 25 games, though it was eventually reduced to 21 games.
2012–13: President's Trophy and The Stanley Cup
The Blackhawks started the shortened 2012–13 season with much success, by establishing several new franchise and NHL records. On January 27, 2013, the Blackhawks set a new franchise record for starting the season 6–0–0 with a win against the Red Wings. On February 19 against the Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks tied the NHL record previously set by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2006–07 season for earning points in the first 16 consecutive games of a season, and beat the Ducks record (28 points) by one point. On February 22 against the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks set a new NHL record for earning points in the first 17 consecutive games of a season. On March 5 against the Minnesota Wild, the Blackhawks recorded a franchise record of 10 consecutive wins. On March 6, the Blackhawks extended the NHL record to 24 games with a record of 21–0–3, and the franchise record for most consecutive wins to 11 games. On March 6, goaltender Ray Emery also set an NHL record of 10–0–0 with most consecutive wins to start a season. The Blackhawks lost 6–2 to the Colorado Avalanche on March 8. It was their first loss in regulation and ended their 24-game streak in which they earned at least one point, an NHL record to start a season. The streak was the third-longest in NHL history. The 1979–80 Philadelphia Flyers had a 35-game unbeaten streak from October 14 – January 6, and the 1977–78 Montreal Canadiens had a 28-game unbeaten streak.
The United Center also recorded its 200th consecutive combined regular season and playoff Blackhawks sell-out on March 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which began during the 2007–08 season with the game on March 30, 2008 against the Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks won the 2012–13 President's Trophy for the best regular season record in the league, at the same time earning home ice advantage throughout the entirety of the playoffs. After dispatching the Minnesota Wild in the first round, the Blackhawks faced the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals. After winning the series opener, the Blackhawks lost the next three games, putting Chicago on the edge of elimination. However, the Hawks clawed back, eventually winning the series on a series-clinching goal by Brent Seabrook in overtime of game seven to defeat the Red Wings four games to three. A 4–3 win in game five of the Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings on June 8, 2013 saw them make their second Stanley Cup Final appearance in four seasons.
Starting on June 12, 2013, they faced the Boston Bruins, another Original Six team, in the Finals. It was the first time since 1979 that two Original Six teams have made the Stanley Cup Finals and the first time since 1945 that the last four teams to win the Stanley Cup were in the Conference Finals. It was also the first time that the Blackhawks and Bruins had faced each other in the Finals. The Bruins made their second appearance in the Finals in three years (winning in 2011) and were making a similar resurgence as the Blackhawks. On June 24, 2013, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in the sixth game of the Stanley Cup Final to win the Stanley Cup for the 2012–13 NHL season, having overcome a 2–1 deficit with just over a minute remaining. Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored goals with 1:16 and 0:58.3 remaining in the game, just 17 seconds apart, to win 3–2.
The Blackhawks began the 2013–14 season in hopes of becoming the first team to win consecutive Championships since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. The team was dramatically altered in the off-season to remain under the salary cap. The team traded Dave Bolland, Daniel Carcillo and Michael Frolik in exchange for future draft picks, while parting ways with Ray Emery and Viktor Stalberg. Despite these changes, The Blackhawks tallied a 28–7–7 record going into January 2014. The team played their second outdoor game in franchise history against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field as part of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series. The Blackhawks defeated the Penguins, 5–1, in front of 62,921 fans.
The franchise recorded its 2,500th regular season win, while head coach Joel Quenneville won 693 wins as a coach, the third most in the history of the NHL. The Blackhawks finished the season with a 46–21–15 record, good for third in the Central Division. They opened the playoffs by losing two games to the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks surged back with four straight games to win the series. The team then defeated the Minnesota Wild for the second consecutive year. However, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Blackhawks in seven games and would ultimately go on to win the Stanley Cup. After the season's conclusion, Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy for the second time in his career, and Jonathan Toews was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy.
2014–15: Sixth Stanley Cup
The Blackhawks' roster remained largely intact following the 2013–14 season. The team signed veteran center Brad Richards and rookie goaltender Scott Darling to one-year deals, and dealt defenseman Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders for three prospects. For the first half of the season, Patrick Kane led the team in scoring and points. The Blackhawks mustered a 30–15–2 record going into the All-Star break. The Blackhawks sent six players to the All-Star Game, including Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford. The team also played in the 2015 NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., where they lost to the Washington Capitals, 3–2.
However, in late February, Kane suffered a shoulder injury that was expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season and much of the playoffs. The team called up rookie Teuvo Teravainen from the American Hockey League, and traded their first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to acquire center Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes. The Blackhawks also acquired veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers for second round picks in 2015 and 2016, and Andrew Desjardins from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Ben Smith. The Blackhawks finished the season with a 48–28–6 record, placing third in their division. The team allowed the fewest goals in the NHL.
Kane recovered quicker than projected and was ready for the start of the playoffs. The Blackhawks dispatched the Nashville Predators in six games, and swept the Minnesota Wild to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in seven years. The top-seeded Anaheim Ducks held a 3–2 lead in the series, but the Blackhawks rallied back in the series to win games six and seven. The team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals to secure their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
The Blackhawks' roster experienced another dramatic reconstruction before the 2015–16 NHL season. The team was unable to come to terms with pending free-agent, Brandon Saad, who had played a pivotal role in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blackhawks traded Saad's negotiation rights, along with prospects Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta, to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Daňo, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin and a fourth-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The Blackhawks were unable to re-sign unrestricted free-agents Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, and Johnny Oduya due to salary cap constraints. The team then traded long-time veteran and fan-favorite Patrick Sharp along with Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt in order to stay under the salary cap. Amidst the roster turnover, the Blackhawks signed free agent Artemi Panarin from the KHL to an entry-level deal.
The Blackhawks offense was led by Patrick Kane, who tallied a league-best 106 points in 2015-16. Kane was the NHL’s leading scorer, and won the MVP award for the season. Panarin, who skated on Kane’s line, won the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best first year player. Midway through the season, the Blackhawks attempted to supplement their roster by making several trades. The Blackhawks dealt Jeremy Morin to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Richard Pánik. The team then reacquired Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for their first round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and Marko Dano. The team then traded Phillip Danault and their 2018 second round pick to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forwards Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. The team finished with a 46-26-9 record, good for 103 points and third place in their division. The Blackhawks were defeated by the St. Louis Blues in a seven-game series in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. The loss marked the Blackhawks earliest postseason exit since 2012.
The Blackhawks started out wearing black and white jerseys until 1933, when it introduced red to the palette. With the exception of cream replacing white from 1935 to 1937, and a minimally designed sweater during that period, the Black Hawks, as they were called then, wore barber pole-styled jerseys from 1926 to 1955. In 1940 a white uniform was introduced, featuring none of the barber pole stripes the team was known for then. The crest logo went through some cosmetic changes during the uniform's lifetime.
Since 1955, the Blackhawks basically had the same uniform design, featuring red uniforms with alternating white and black stripes on the bottom and sleeves, and white uniforms with black and red stripes on the bottom and sleeves. Over the years, the crest logo underwent several cosmetic changes before evolving to its current form by 1999. The crossed tomahawk logo adorned both sleeves before it moved to the shoulders in 1959. In 1957 sleeve numbers were added, while a secondary trim color for the uniform numbers were added in 1973. Player names were added in 1977, in compliance with the new NHL rule put in place. A black alternate jersey was introduced in 1996, featuring white and red stripes.
Like all NHL teams for the 2007–08 NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks unveiled the Rbk EDGE jerseys from Reebok. Unlike other clubs, Chicago did not deviate much from previous jerseys with small exceptions:
The Blackhawks brought back their black third jerseys for several games in 2008–09 after a one-year absence.
For the 2009 NHL Winter Classic, the Blackhawks wore jerseys based on the design worn in the 1936–37 season. The jersey is predominantly black with a large beige stripe across the chest (also on the sleeves), with a red border, and an old-style circular Black Hawks logo. The Blackhawks used this Winter Classic design as their third jersey for the 2009–10 season until they retired after the 2010–11 season, with the only change in the design was by adding the familiar "C" with crossed tomahawks on the shoulders.
The Blackhawks' uniform was voted one of the 25 best in professional sports by Paul Lukas of GQ in November 2004. The Hockey News voted the team's jersey as the best in the NHL. In 2009, The Blackhawks wore special camouflage jerseys on Veterans Day during their pregame warm-ups. The jerseys were later sold in auctions to raise money for the USO of Illinois.
For the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, the Blackhawks wore a black uniform similar to the alternates they wore from 1996 to 2009, but the stripes around the waist are no longer straight, they are jagged around the sides in order to follow the shape of the bottom of the jersey. Keeping with stripes, the ones on the arms simply stop halfway round; angled numbers are above these sleeve half-stripes. On one shoulder is the familiar "C" with crossed tomahawks logo and the Chicago 2014 Stadium Series logo on the other. Each 2014 NHL Stadium Series jerseys features chrome-treated logo designs inspired by the NHL shield. The chrome crest was developed using new technology that fuses print and embroidery and allows logos to be displayed as a high-resolution image incorporated into the crest. As a result, the design reduces the weight of the crest, creating in a lighter jersey. Numbering on the back of the jersey is enlarged and sleeve numbers are angled to improve visibility in outdoor venues.
For the 2015 NHL Winter Classic, the Blackhawks wore a uniform which was inspired by their 1957–58 jersey. This uniform is nearly identical to the road uniform that the Blackhawks currently wear. The main differences between this design and the current road design comes in the form of the lace up collar, the name/number block font (which is serifed), and the C-Tomahawk logo, which is mostly red, black, and white (with a tad bit of yellow) instead of being mostly red, yellow, green black and white.
For the 2016 NHL Stadium Series, the Blackhawks wore a unique uniform for their game against the Minnesota Wild. This uniform is primarily white with black/red/black stripes on the sleeves and socks. The current logo is on the chest. Framed between the two black stripes and over the red stripe on the sleeve is the familiar "C" with crossed tomahawks. The collar of the uniform features two different colors. The four, six-pointed red stars from the Flag of Chicago is featured on the white portion of the collar, while the other side of the collar is black. Sleeve numbers have been shifted to the shoulders and enlarged. With the shoulders being black, the numbering is white. But, the numbering and lettering on the back is also enlarged and black in color.
For the 2017 NHL Winter Classic, the Blackhawks wore uniforms very similar to what they wore at the 2015 NHL Winter Classic. These new uniforms however feature a few modifications that were made to them. The most notable changes are to the logo and the cross tomahawks. The logo this time is the appropriate logo that the franchise used in 1957-65. But, they removed the roundel and the lettering so that just the logo itself stands out. The placement of the familiar "C" with crossed tomahawks is featured in the same position with the same striping pattern on the sleeve as the 2015 NHL Winter Classic uniform had. The only differences between the tomahawks from the 2015 NHL Winter Classic uniform and the 2017 NHL Winter Classic uniform are where the colors are placed for the tomahawk. The 2017 NHL Winter Classic patch is featured on the right shoulder.
To honor the NHL's centennial year, a special anniversary logo was designed for the remainder of the 2016-17 season, which started on January 1, 2017 for all thirty teams, featuring a banner wrapped around the number 100 with the current NHL shield in the foreground. Both the banner and the number 100 are in same silver colour as the NHL shield. The Blackhawks will wear this special logo patch underneath the numbering on the right-sleeve on both the home and away jerseys. The Blackhawks debuted this patch on their home jerseys on January 5, 2017 and then they debuted the patch on the away jerseys on January 13, 2017.
McLaughlin's wife, Irene Castle, designed the original version of the team's logo, which featured a crudely-drawn black and white Native head in a circle. This design went through several significant changes between 1926 and 1955. During this period, seven distinct versions of the primary logo were worn on the team's uniforms. At the beginning of the 1955–56 season, the outer circle was removed and the head began to resemble the team's current primary logo. This crest and uniform went through subtle changes until the 1964–65 season; the basic logo and jersey design have remained constant ever since. In 2008, The Hockey News' staff voted the team's main logo to be the best in the NHL. In 2010, sports columnist Damien Cox called on the franchise to retire the "racially insensitive" logo, saying that, "Clearly, no right-thinking person would name a team after an aboriginal figure these days any more than they would use Muslims or Africans or Chinese or any ethnic group to depict a specific sporting notion." Furthermore, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) believes that all Native-themed logos, including that of the Blackhawks, "continue to profit from harmful stereotypes originated during a time when white superiority and segregation were common place."
The Blackhawks have worked with the American Indian Center to help educate their community and fan base by sharing Native American culture and history. Scott Sypolt, executive counsel for the American Indian Center, commented on the logo and name controversy: Joe Podlasek, the executive director of the American Indian Center of Chicago, commented on their relationship, stating, "[The Hawks] are far and away ahead of everyone else in forward-thinking. What they have done is engaged the community. In the other cities (organizations) want nothing to do with native people but yet they’re trying to say they respect us." However, this stance is markedly different from the one taken by the American Indian Center up until recent years. In 2010, Joe Podlasek stated that, "The stance is very clear. We want the Chicago Blackhawks logo to change. For us, that's one of our grandfathers. Would you do that with your grandfather's picture? Take it and throw it on a rug? Walk on it and dance on it?" John Blackhawk, Chairman of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, has suggested that the change in position may be tied to contributions the team has recently begun making to the center: "We all do contributions, but we don't do it for the sake of wanting to be forgiven for something we've done that's offensive."
The Blackhawks mascot is Tommy Hawk, a hawk who wears the Blackhawks' four 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. The Blackhawks 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.
"Here Come the Hawks!" is the official fight song and introduction of the Chicago Blackhawks. The song was written by J. Swayzee, an avid Blackhawks fan, and produced by the Dick Marx Orchestra and Choir in 1968 and is heard quite often both in vocal and organ renditions during Blackhawks home games. In late 2007 the song "Keys to the City" was released by Ministry & Co Conspirators as a gift to the Blackhawks organization.
The Blackhawks were one of the first NHL teams to sound a horn whenever they scored a goal at home. Bill Wirtz donated his yacht's horn to Chicago Stadium. The goal horn became a popular trend among other NHL teams after the Blackhawks played the Montreal Canadiens in the 1973 Stanley Cup Finals. The Blackhawks began playing "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis as their official goal song during the 2008-09 NHL season. The Blackhawks also have dedicated goal songs for Patrick Kane ("Rock You Like a Hurricane" by The Scorpions) and Jonathan Toews ("Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry).
It is a tradition for Blackhawks fans to applaud and cheer loudly during the singing of the national anthem. This tradition originated during a 1985 Campbell Conference playoff game at Chicago Stadium versus the Edmonton Oilers. Wayne Messmer, the Blackhawks home games national anthem singer from 1980 to 1994, was the anthem singer when this tradition began. Jim Cornelison currently sings the national anthem for all home games.
The Blackhawks and their arena mates, the Chicago Bulls, have historically embarked on an annual two-week road trip in mid-November dating back to when both teams inhabited Chicago Stadium. The Wirtz Family, who at one point owned the Blackhawks, Bulls, and Chicago Stadium, would lease the venue to circus acts and ice skating troupes. The Blackhawks usually play between six and seven games in western Canada and California during this time. In November 2016, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they would not be returning to the United Center in 2017.
Media and announcers
For the first time in team history, all 82 games plus playoffs were broadcast on television during the 2008–09 season. At least 20 of them aired on WGN-TV (Channel 9), the first time the Blackhawks had been seen on local over-the-air television in 30 years. Games produced by WGN-TV through its WGN Sports department are not available in its superstation feed WGN America due to league broadcast rights restrictions. Other games not broadcast by WGN-TV are aired on regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the first time in at least 35 years that non-nationally broadcast home games were seen locally, either over-the-air or on cable. On February 15, 2011, it was announced that the team had renewed their broadcast contract with WGN-TV for the next five years, starting in the 2011–12 NHL season. The deal was further extended for three more years on May 15, 2014, keeping the team on Channel 9 until the end of the 2018–19 season.
Radio broadcasts since the 1970s and into the mid-2000s varied between WBBM (780) and WMAQ/WSCR (670), and often came into conflict with White Sox baseball by the start of April. On April 30, 2008, the team signed a three-year deal with WGN Radio (720 AM), with games airing alternately instead on WIND (560 AM) in scheduling conflict situations during the baseball season due to the Cubs having contractual preference to air on WGN; these moved to WGWG-LP (Channel 6/87.7 FM, an analog television station carrying an audio-only sports talk format using a quirk in the FM band) in mid-2014 when Tribune began a local marketing agreement with that station's owner. During the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, the Cubs agreed to allow the Blackhawks games to be broadcast on WGN and have the Cubs revert to WIND when there was a conflict. This allowed the Finals games to be heard over a larger area due to WGN's clear-channel signal. All Blackhawk games are also streamed live on wgnradio.com, regardless of whether the games are on WGN or WGWG-LP. WLUP-FM (97.9 FM) is also utilized as an alternate station.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Blackhawks. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Chicago Blackhawks seasons.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Updated March 3, 2017.
Franchise scoring leaders
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
The Blackhawks have led the NHL in attendance in each season from the 2008–09 season onward.