Happy Birthday to the Chicago Blackhawks! On Sept. 25, 1926, the National Hockey League awarded Major Frederic McLaughlin and the city of Chicago with a franchise, and the rest is history---86 years of it, to be exact! In this edition of The Friday Five, the Blackhawks Blog looks back at some interesting facts about how the Blackhawks came to be.
1. In 1926, the entry fee required to join the National Hockey League was just $12,000.
McLaughlin, a Harvard-educated local coffee baron, purchased the Portland Rosebuds of the floundering Western Hockey League for $200,000 and moved the core of that team to Chicago to form the roster for the first season of NHL hockey.
2. The Blackhawks moniker is a tribute to both his military experience and American history.
The Major was never a fan of the name “Rose Buds” and found inspiration for a team name in his past. McLaughlin served as a commander in the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Division of the U.S. Army in World War I. Members of his division referred to themselves as "Black Hawks" in honor of the Sauk Nation Chief Blackhawk.
3. McLaughlin’s wife, Irene Castle, designed the Indian Head logo that, despite minor variations, has lasted over 85 years.
The unique black, red, and white striped uniforms were all Castle’s doing, honoring Chief Blackhawk with his profile on the crest. The logo has been called the best logo in the history of professional sports in several fan and media polls.
4. The Black Hawks won the first NHL game they ever played.
On Nov. 17, 1926, the Blackhawks made their NHL debut in a 4-1 victory over the Toronto St. Patricks (who would eventually become the Toronto Maple Leafs). The game was played at the Chicago Coliseum in front of 9,000 fans. The Blackhawks would also go on to win their first game at the old Chicago Stadium (Dec. 15, 1929, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1) and the United Center (Jan. 25, 1995, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-1).
5. In their first season, the Black Hawks finished in third place in the American Division with a record of 19-23-3.
The team included future Hall of Famers Dick Irvin, whose 36 points were second-most in the league that year, goalie Hugh Lehman, Babe Dye, George Hay and Mickey McKay.