One of the premiere teams in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks (spelled Black Hawks until 1986, and known colloquially as the Hawks) are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). They have won six Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Since 1994, the club's home rink is the United Center, which they share with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. The club had previously played for 65 years at Chicago Stadium.
Chicago, on Lake Michigan in Illinois, is among the largest cities in the U.S. Famed for its bold architecture, it has a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers such as the iconic John Hancock Center, 1,451-ft. Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower. The city is also renowned for its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago with its noted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. At a 2017 census-estimated population of 2,716,450, it is the third most populous city in the United States, and the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Cook County. The Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as "Chicagoland", has nearly 10 million people and is the third-largest in the United States and fourth largest in North America. It is the birthplace of the skyscraper and considered the most influential architectural city of the 20th century.
The Chicago club's original owner was Frederic McLaughlin, who owned the club until his death in 1944. Under McLaughlin, a "hands-on" owner who fired many coaches during his ownership, the club won two Stanley Cup titles. The club was then owned by the Norris family, who as owners of the Chicago Stadium were the club's landlord, and owned stakes in several of the NHL teams. At first, the Norris ownership was as part of a syndicate fronted by long-time executive Bill Tobin, and the team languished in favor of the Norris-owned Detroit Red Wings. After the senior James E. Norris died in 1952, the Norris assets were spread among family members and James D. Norris became owner. Norris Jr. took an active interest in the team and under his ownership, the club won one Stanley Cup title in 1961.
On May 1, 1926, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise for Chicago to a syndicate headed by former football star Huntington Hardwick of Boston. At the same meeting, Hardwick arranged the purchase of the players of the Portland Rosebuds of the Western Hockey League for $100,000 from WHL President Frank Patrick in a deal brokered by Boston Bruins' owner Charles Adams. However, only one month later, Hardwick's group sold out to Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin. The Black Hawks began play in the 1926–27 season, along with new expansion franchises Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers. The team had to face immediate competition in Chicago from Eddie Livingstone's rival Chicago Cardinals, which played in the same building. McLaughlin took a very active role in running the team despite having no background in the sport. McLaughlin hired Bill Tobin, a former goaltender who had played in the Western league, as his assistant, but directed the team himself.
For the upcoming 2018-19 season, the Chicago Blackhawks have three goaltenders on their roster with multiple seasons of NHL experience. Before the team’s fan convention last weekend, head coach Joel Quenneville said that they will not carry three goalies during the regular season. Corey Crawford is the clear-cut No. 1 goalie in Chicago, should he be on the active roster and not IR. Cam Ward was signed in the offseason to a one-year deal that includes a no-movement clause which prevents him from being sent anywhere else, including the AHL. Yes, Forsberg did struggle during his first consistent NHL action, which came during the 2017-18 NHL season. His 2.97 GAA and .908 SA% aren’t going to win him any No. 1 spots in the NHL (although they’re not far from Ward’s 2.73 and .906). Forsberg had the kind of up-and-down performance you’d expect from a rookie.
For Chicago’s other star players, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each made their NHL debuts during the 2007-08 season and were two of the three Calder Trophy candidates as the league's top rookies. Kane led all rookies in points (72), power play goals (7) and power play points (28) and established a new Blackhawks rookie record with 51 assists in a single season, en route to winning the award over his teammate. But the team still missed the playoffs despite their pair of rookie phenoms.
One player the Chicago fans will be keeping their eyes on in 2018-19 season is Alex DeBrincat. His 28 goals were the most on the team, one ahead of Patrick Kane. Adding in 24 assists put him into a three-way tie for second (along with Jonathan Toews and Nick Schmaltz) with 52 points. The possession numbers look good as well, with DeBrincat checking in at a 53.76 CF%, fourth best among forwards (with one of them being a former teammate in Richard Panik). He did benefit from having one of the higher offensive zone start percentages on the team at 37.2, behind only Kane, Schmaltz and Patrick Sharp. To his credit, though, DeBrincat made those opportunities count. The diminutive DeBrincat displayed a strong hockey IQ and a quick, accurate shot on so many of his goals. The Blackhawks mascot is Tommy Hawk, an anthropomorphic black hawk who wears the Blackhawks' four feathers on his head, along with a Blackhawks jersey and hockey pants. Tommy Hawk often participates in the T-shirt toss and puck chuck at the United Center. He walks around the concourse greeting fans before and during the game. The team introduced Tommy Hawk in the 2001–02 season.
The Blackhawks practice facility, the MB Ice Arena, is located in Chicago’s Near West Side. The 125,000 square-foot facility opened in 2017 and cost $65 million to construct. The MB Ice Arena also serves as community center and hosts youth, high school, and adult hockey and ice skating programs.
We’ll have to see if the Chicago BlackHawks can bring back their dynasty in 2018-19 with the newly-drafted Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin and last year's first two picks Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell all vying to make the Blackhawks roster in the near future.