NHL Teams: Chicago Blackhawks

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are based in Chicago, Illinois, and are a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference of the NHL.

It is considered one of the ‘Original Six’ teams in the NHL along with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

As of 2022, the Chicago Blackhawks have won 6 Stanley Cup Championships. In terms of NHL betting odds, they are one of the most all-or-nothing teams in the league.

Below we cover the storied history of the Chicago Blackhawks and some of the greatest players to come from the team.


The Chicago Blackhawks were founded in 1926 when the NHL awarded an expansion franchise to Chicago. It was headed by former football player Huntington Hardwick, who sold it one month later to coffee shop tycoon Frederic McLaughlin.

During World War 1, McLaughlin was a part of the Blackhawk division, which was named after Sauk leader and war chief Black Hawk. This is the reason for the Chicago Blackhawks' name and logo.

The team was initially known as Black Hawks until 1986 when original documents were found showing the name to actually be Blackhawks.


McLaughlin played an active role in the team despite having no sports knowledge, he would regularly fire and hire coaches.

Their first game was held on November 17th, 1929 versus the Toronto St. Patricks, the Blackhawks won 4-1. They finished third in their first season.

1931 saw them reach their first Stanley Cup final. They would win their first Cup in 1934 against the Detroit Red Wings. Their second cup win would be in 1938 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


McLaughlin passed away in 1944 and ownership was handed to senior executive Bill Tobin. Tobin was merely a stand-in for Detroit Red Wings owner, James E. Norris. Norris was the landlord for the Chicago Stadium and the Norris-Tobin agreement allowed him to have control over 2 teams, which was against NFL rules.

The Blackhawks would be neglected for the Red Wings with every trade being in their favor. From 1945 to 1958, the Blackhawks would only make it to playoffs twice.

In 1950, Norris’ oldest son, James D. Norris would take over the club with Arthur Wirtz. They would take a new direction and start to rebuild the team. This included getting future Hockey Hall of Fame members Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall, Pierre Pilote, and Stan Mikita.

These high-profile drafts would allow the Blackhawks to get their third Stanley Cup in 1961 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Arthur Wirtz

When James D. Norris passed away in 1966, ownership would be given to Wirtz and his son Bill. The 1970-71 season would see the team move to the West Division and get a first-place finish.

Bill Wirtz

Arthur died in 1983 and sole ownership would be given to Bill Wirtz. This was an era of the Blackhawks making it to playoffs but losing early, or not making it to playoffs at all.

In early 2004, ESPN named Blackhawks the worst franchise in professional sports.

Rocky Wirtz

Bill died in 2007 and ownership would be passed to his son Rocky.

Rocky would take a drastically different approach to the team and make an active effort to rebuild it. He is credited for building up and renewing interest in the Blackhawks.

The 2008-09 season would see them get their first 100-point season in 17 years and reach the West Conference semifinals which they haven’t done since 1996.

They would break a 49-year drought in 2010 by winning their fourth Stanley Cup. They achieved this after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers.

Three years later would see their fifth Stanley Cup, this time against the Boston Bruins. This match would be the first time since 1979 that 2 teams of the ‘Original Six’ would make it to the finals.

In 2015, they would win their sixth Stanley Cup against Tampa Bay Lightning.

Retired Numbers

  • 1 – Glenn Hall – retired in 1988
  • 3 – Keith Magnuson – retired in 2008
  • 3 – Pierre Pilote – retired in 2008
  • 9 – Bobby Hull – retired in 1983
  • 18 – Denis Savard – retired in 1998
  • 21 – Stan Mikita – retired in 1980
  • 35 – Tony Esposito – retired in 1988
  • 81 – Marian Hossa – retired in 2022

Notable Players

  • Bobby Hull – Hull is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He played left wing for the Blackhawks.
  • Denis Savard – He played the center position.
  • Duncan Keith – He played the defense position.
  • Glenn Hall – He was the goaltender.
  • Jonathan Toews – Current captain of the Blackhawks. He plays the center position.
  • Keith Magnuson – He played the defense position.
  • Patrick Kane – He is the current alternate captain. He plays right wing.
  • Pierre Pilote – He played the defense position.
  • Stan Mikita – He played the center position.
  • Tony Esposito – He was the goaltender.


Throughout the history of the Blackhawks, there have been many lows and highs, with each of them leaving a lasting impact on the team.

Despite a rough start to the 2000s, the Blackhawks have been gaining interest with people believing that they are regaining their former glory.