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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy birthday, Blackhawks

Posted By on 11.17.11 at 06:00 PM

The Blackhawks first logo.
  • The Blackhawks's first logo.
Today is the 85th birthday of the Chicago Blackhawks, who played their first game November 17, 1926, against the Toronto St. Pats at the old Chicago Coliseum. They crushed the Pats (now known as the Maple Leafs) 4-1, a score the Vancouver Canucks would have preferred last night, when the 'Hawks beat them 5-1. The team didn't perform quite as well the rest of the season, finishing 19-22-3 that year. It was good enough for a trip to the playoffs, but they lost in the first round to the Bruins, the eventual Stanley Cup runners-up.

Some interesting facts about the Blackhawks:
-Most hockey fans know this, but with the addition of the 'Hawks, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, the NHL entered what is now known as the Original Six period, named for the six teams still playing in the league from that era. The other three are the Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Boston Bruins.
-While other teams used to play in the NHL, those six teams spent many years only playing each other. The 'Hawks were pretty bad, but that's because they were owned by businessman James E. Norris—he owned the Red Wings and Rangers, and used the Chicago and New York teams to cultivate talent for his Detroit franchise and to fill seats in the Red Wings' stadium (he owned that, too). The 'Hawks only won the Stanley Cup once during that period, in 1961. To be fair, the remained pretty bad after Norris passed away.
-The team is named after the army unit its first owner, Frederic McLaughlin, served in during World War I, the 86th Infantry "Blackhawk" Division.
-Most of the team's first crop of players came from the Portland Rosebuds, a team with a great hockey name that folded the year before. Some years later, Jesse Owens owned a baseball team by the same name in a league meant to bring Negro-league baseball to the West Coast. The experiment didn't last long.
-Sitting comfortably atop the Western Conference standings and without an omnipotent team like the Packers to contend with, the 'Hawks are easily your best hope this year for a professional sports trophy in Chicago.

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