On September 25, 1926, the National Hockey League granted Major Frederick McLaughlin the Chicago franchise in the newly restructured league. It was comprised of 10 teams and two divisions-American and Canadian. The Blackhawks' eventual number-one rival, the Detroit Cougars (Red Wings), was also added.
McLaughlin, a Chicago millionaire in the coffee business, wanted to bring an instant winner to the city. A Major in World War I, he bought the Portland Rosebuds from the Western League for $200,000. He wisely decided to name the team after the field battalion he commanded, since the name Rosebuds didn't fit the "Windy City" image.
The Blackhawks played their first NHL game on November 17, 1926, against the Toronto St. Pats at the Chicago Coliseum and came away with a 4-1 victory. The Blackhawks finished third in their division and qualified for the playoffs, but lost to Boston in 1927.
McLaughlin had expected better results and fired Pete Muldoon as coach. Tales grew that Muldoon placed a curse on the team that they would never win a title!
Fortunately the so-called "Curse of Muldoon" ended when the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 1934.
Several members of the 1926-27 team have been named to the Hockey Hall of Fame: Dick Irvin, George Hay, Babe Dye and Mickey Mackay. Clarence Abel is in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Goalie Charlie Gardiner, who led the team to their first Cup in 1934 after joining the team for their second season, is also in the Hall of Fame.
Although Chicago joined the NHL 90 years ago and it's been 81 years since Chicago's first Stanley Cup, the 2016-17 edition of the Blackhawks is eagerly looking forward to this season-and an opportunity to add their seventh Cup to the team's laurels!
On October 12, the Blackhawks will begin their 90th NHL season against their current rival, the St. Louis Blues.