The Chicago Blackhawks joined the National Hockey League in 1926 as part of the League’s first wave of expansion into the U.S. Along with the Blackhawks, the Detroit Cougars (currently the Red Wings) and the New York Rangers were also part of that first wave. The team got the name the “Black Hawks” from owner Frederic McLaughlin. He was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War II. The Division was nicknamed “Blackhawk Division” after Chief Blackhawk who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. Under the ownership of McLaughlin, the Blackhawks became the NHL’s first team with an all-American born starting lineup.
The Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 1934, beating the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 in double overtime. They won their second Cup four years later in 1938 when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one. That year, they made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth with a 14-25 mark -- the worst record ever of any Stanley Cup champion.
When the Hawks won their third Cup in 1961, it came as a shock to the world of hockey. The two previous years, the Canadiens beat the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. In ’61, the Hawks shut down Montreal’s offense and went on to run through Detroit and bring home their third Stanley Cup -- they wouldn't win it again until this past season when they beat Philadelphia in six games.