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Blackhawks inspire baby names

by Leah Pascarella / Chicago Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are household names for any Blackhawks fan, but there are some diehards who go a step further and literally bring these names into their homes. The Blackhawks Blog caught up with a few families who named their children after Blackhawks players – and we aren’t talking Jonathan or Patrick – to get the story behind their child’s unique name.

Hossa and Niemi Singer cheer on the Blackhawks from Montana. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Preston)

Marc and Mikaela Singer moved to Billings, Mont., about seven years ago, and brought a little bit of Chicago with them.

The couple has two daughters, 4-year-old Niemi Hope and 17-month-old Hossa Marie. Their names may not be recognizable to most Montana residents, but people who know hockey know the Chicago Blackhawks are the Singers’ favorite team.

Niemi and Hossa were born in 2010 and 2013, respectively. Do these years ring a bell?

When Mikaela was pregnant in 2010, she was sure she was going to have a baby boy and didn’t have any girl names picked out.

“The Blackhawks were playing for the Stanley Cup, and we had friends throwing out different hockey names, jokingly saying that if the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup we should name her after one of the players,” Mikaela recalled.

Sure enough, the Blackhawks won the Cup that year, and the Singers were still without a girl name they liked, so they began going through the roster.

“That year it came down to [Antti] Niemi and [Jonathan] Toews,” Marc said. “Toews just didn’t sound right with our last name, and we thought Niemi was a cool girl’s name. So sure enough that’s what we chose, and it just stuck.”

It wasn’t long before Mikaela was pregnant with another girl – and was again without a name they liked.

“They won the Cup again in 2013, so we went through the list of names one more time,” Marc said. “We knew we couldn’t name her Mary or Jill after naming our first daughter Niemi, and we were looking for a name that was relatively easy to pronounce and spell.”

(Needless to say, Hjalmarsson did not make the list.)

“We thought Hossa was the perfect name,” Marc said. “We could have gone with Marian, but that was more of a mainstream name and we liked the idea of them having more individualized and different names.”

Mikaela’s grandparents are big Red Wings fans, and since Hossa played for them prior to joining the Blackhawks, her family was thrilled with their choice, too. While the Singer girls often fly under the radar in Montana, Mikaela said that if people know hockey, they instantly make the connection with the girl’s names.

In 2010, Antti Niemi joined the San Jose Sharks, and now the house is divided as little Niemi cheers for her new favorite team.

The Singer family watches as many Blackhawks games as they can, and they hope to start a tradition of watching their favorite team play in different arenas across the country.

Even baby Hossa is quickly becoming aware of what hockey is and always looks up at the TV when the announcer says, “Hossa!”

The couple knows Niemi and Hossa are odd names, and that’s why they are open to their daughters using their middle names if they want to in the future. However, the Singers are happy with the names they chose.

“I wouldn’t change their names for anything,” Mikaela said. “That’s just who they are.”

Mackenzie Brook and Kane Toews Robertson hold their hockey sticks while watching a game. (Photo courtesy of Curtis Robertson)

While some parents struggle finding the perfect name for one baby, couples expecting twins have twice the battle. The Robertsons found out they were having twins in 2013, and the only solution was to name both kids after players.

Kane Toews and Mackenzie Brook turned 2 years old at the beginning of February. Residing in a suburb outside of St. Louis, many people recognize who the Robertson twins are named after, and Blues fans definitely get the connection.

Their father, Curtis, has been a Blackhawks fan since he was 5 years old, and decided he wanted to integrate the players’ names into his children’s names.

When he found out they were having twins, he knew he wanted to name his son Kane.

“We thought about naming him Patrick, but I just liked the name Kane a lot better,” he recalled.

Making Toews his middle name was an easy decision, too: “I figured if you had Kane you have to have Toews to go along with it.”

Both parents were on board, and their son’s name was set. Naming their daughter wasn’t as easy, however. Seabrook and Sharp were in the running, but it was Mackenzie’s mother who got to pick her name.

“She really thought about naming her Seabrook,” Curtis said. “Then she chose Brook as Mackenzie’s middle name to make it more of a girl’s name.”

There was no looking back after that. Besides some family friends who cheer for the Blues and give them a hard time, the Roberstons receive positive reactions when they tell people their children’s names.

“People get a kick out of it,” Curtis said. “They say, 'You must be a Blackhawks fan!'”

Curtis has a tradition of driving up to Chicago to attend games with his father, and he hopes it will continue with his own kids. They have already been to two games, but watch every game at home. While they’re still a little too young to understand hockey, their favorite part is clapping and cheering for the national anthem.

Mason Kane Perlmutter in his favorite Blackhawks outfit. (Photo courtesy of Michael Perlmutter)

The Perlmutter family had the same idea to name their child after a Blackhawks player. However, they chose to use it for a middle name. Mason Kane was born in September 2014 and is a fourth-generation Blackhawks fan.

Mason’s father, Michael, was born and raised in a Blackhawks family, but he said he never thought he would name his son after one of the players.

“My wife, Brittany, and I were struggling to agree on a middle name for our son when my brother suggested the name Hawk, somewhat as a joke,” Michael remembered.

From that point on the wheels started churning, and Michael and Brittany considered everything from “Kane,” “Duncan,” and even “Q” for Mason’s middle name.

It was Patrick Kane’s performance in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final vs. the L.A. Kings in 2014 that clinched the choice.

“Kane had a tremendous game, scoring two goals and an assist. That sealed the deal, and we knew right then that we were going to use Kane as the middle name for our son.”

When the Perlmutters announced that Mason’s middle name was inspired by the Blackhawks forward, they received nothing but positive reactions from family and friends.

“They instantly made the connection to our love for hockey, the Blackhawks, and of course, Patrick Kane,” Michael said.

Mason is almost 5 months old, but he watches the games on TV with his parents and will attend his first game this spring. While he is the couple’s only child so far, they are hoping to have more in the future, and would definitely consider choosing another Blackhawks name.

Considering the team’s recent success, the trend of naming a baby after a Blackhawks player is no surprise. Is it only a matter of time before names like Saad and Shaw make the list of most popular baby names?

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