10 Things To Know About The Chicago Blackhawks

June 10, 2010

Last night the Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers four games to two to take the Stanley Cup home to the Windy City. You probably know I was rooting for the Flyers, who are my favourite team after my “hometown” Vancouver Canucks. I would have liked to have seen the boys in orange hoist the Cup for the first time since my childhood, but it was not to be.

That being said, if someone else had to win it, I’m glad it was Chicago. This ends a 49-year drought without a Stanley Cup, and I like seeing Original Six, or at the very least the remaining Second Six, teams win. When the stupid Mighty Ducks won, I wanted to throw my Mickey Mouse ears in the river.

Anyway, here are some interesting true facts about the Chicago Blackhawks

  1. Chris Pronger of the Flyers kept stealing the game puck at the end of games during this season, raising the ire of the Hawks. Later, Patrick Kane of the Hawks prank-called and sent 35 pizzas and 10 taxis to Pronger’s hotel room.
  2. The Blackhawks have a Frenchman on the roster: Cristobal Huet. Huet is one of the very few actual Frenchman in the NHL, and by Frenchman I mean from France, not French-Canadian. There are a lot of those guys.
  3. The Blackhawks are the only Original Six team (Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers) to change its name since the NHL was formed. In 1986, they stopped being The Black Hawks. This got almost no attention.
  4. The Hawks poked along for decades before signing a pair of players in the 1950s who would change hockey forever. Bobby Hull pioneered the wrist shot, whipping the puck up and off the ice, while Stan Mikita invented the donut and opened a chain of famous coffee shops.
  5. Wait, no, that last one is made up. Stan Mikita Donuts was used in the Wayne’s World films as a stand-in for Tim Horton’s, because Mike Myers is a diehard Blackhawks fan. I like it when Torontonians worship teams that aren’t the Leafs. I really do.
  6. Mikita was on the Hawks team that last won the Cup, in 1961. That series was won on a goal scored by Ab McDonald. I think the name Ab is totally cool.
  7. The Hawks went back to the final a few more times, notably in 1971, backstopped by ace goalie Tony Esposito. This is the first Stanley Cup final I remember; there’s a picture of me in my PJs watching it with my uncles, stubby beer bottles everywhere as they rooted for the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens won. The beer tasted terrible, but that was because I hadn’t yet learned to wash it down with a cigarette.
  8. The team logo, designed in the 1920s and only slightly modified since, features a character named, ahem, Tommy Hawk. In 2008, the logo was voted best in the NHL, which is, I think, a reflection of its classic nature and not its political correctness.
  9. Despite being called part of the Original Six, the Hawks were actually part of the NHL’s initial expansion out of Canada. When the Black Hawks joined the NHL in 1926, they were bought and moved from a minor league and renamed. They began life in the old WHL as the Portland Rosebuds. There is no word on whether their logo was a sled.
  10. If they’d held out one more year, they would have had a 50-year Stanley Cup drought, which earns the team a special plaque from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and a team dinner at Fuddruckers. Sources in Toronto say Leafs fans gave a big cheer when the Hawks won, saying “Yes! That plaque is ours!”

One comment

  1. Thanks for a great article. Not mentioned here but I think worth a mention is the fact that the city has been deprived of the ability to watch their team play on television for so very long. Beyond that the team was being deprived of having the sort of following and support that a city like Chicago (superfans) could have provided. It is so awesome that even those unable to be at the stadium (time and money difficult to come by) can be fans of this exiting sport now.

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