The Chicago Blackhawks, one of the “Original Six” NHL teams, is based in Chicago, Illinois. The team competes in the Central Division of the Western Conference of the League. Its history goes back to 1926 when the Western Canada Hockey League collapsed due to the financial problems and increasing NHL competition. WCHL founders Frank and Lester Patrick had to sell players and entire teams to their richer NHL rivals to stay afloat. They telephoned to Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin to arrange the purchase of Portland Rosebuds. McLaughlin himself was a sports enthusiast, though he preferred far more aristocratic kinds of sport. He was a first-class horse-rider and a very famous polo player, so he definitely liked the idea. A group of shareholders headed by McLaughlin managed to pay Patrick $ 200,000 to transfer the Rosebuds to Chicago.
Apparently, the team based in the City of the Winds could be called neither buds nor roses nor any combinations of these words. Major Frederick McLaughlin was a commander with the Blackhawk Division during World War I, so he did not think much about the name for his new club. Moreover, McLaughlin loved his native land and knew its history. He was aware that 19th-century Midwest (including in the state of Illinois, where Chicago is located) was plagued by bloody wars between the colonists and the Native Americans. One of the legendary figures of Indian wars was the leader of the Black Hawk tribe. That is why the Chicago club logo doesn’t depict a hawk, but the Indian’s head being iconic since the franchise foundation.
Until 1986 the team name was spelled Black Hawks, but now it is spelled as Blackhawks.
Chicago Blackhawks logo history
In 2008, the Chicago Blackhawks logo was recognized the best in the NHL according to a quiz of fans of the League. “It is the very recognizable emblem, which carries a special message and inspires rivals to countless imitations. The logo gives the feeling of pride and duty towards him and looks great on a T-shirt and a baseball cap”, the polling organizers said.
The vivid color appeared in the logo in 1935. The leader’s face was painted in red. But later it was considered to be incorrect in relation to the Indians, and in 1941, designers made the skin swarthy.
But some Native Americans still do not approve this logo and the idea of using Indian culture for entertainment purposes. Sometimes it causes a serious scandal.
In 1926, the year the club appeared, the Chicago Blackhawks team logo was created by Irene Castle, the wife of the team’s founder and coffee tycoon Major Frederick McLaughlin.
The hero of the emblem is the military leader of the Indian Sauk tribe. He participated in The War of 1812 (1812–1815) between the United States, the United Kingdom on the side of the British Empire. In 1832, he led the military actions of Saukies and Foxes against the United States. The man was a notable figure in the history of Illinois, where the club is based.
In the original version, Chicago Blackhawks emblem was black and white and contained an inscription “black hawks”, which means the nickname of the team “Chicago Blackhawks”. The name was invented by McLaughlin, who was a commander of the 333rd machine-gun battalion of the 86th Division of the US Army during the First World War. Its members call themselves “Black Hawks.”
1926 – 1935
The original Chicago Blackhawks logo was designed by Irene Castle, the wife of Frederic McLaughlin, the club’s owner. It represented a side view of a Native American’s head with three feathers and a braid. The image was encircled by the words “Chicago Black Hawks”. The only colors present in the emblem were black and white.
1935 – 1937
The 1936 logo palette included two more colors in addition to black and white. Now the Indian’s head was red, while his hair was light brown. Otherwise, the black circle and white-scripted name of the team remained the same.
1937 – 1941
The version unveiled in 1937 looked pretty similar, except for the background: the black color was replaced by white. The red-skin Indian and the name of the team in a black background were not modified.
1941 – 1955
In 1941, the logo was a bit overhauled, still depicting an iconic Indian’s head. The pensive portrait was replaced by a more detailed headshot. Facial features became softer, red skin turned warm yellow, and hair became black with the addition of thin green lines. There were three red and white feathers in his hair. The black outer ring was trimmed with a thin red outline.
1955 – 1957
In 1955, the Blackhawks introduced a new Chicago Blackhawks logo. Now it was a more detailed drawn Indian’s head: the face was decorated with red and white stripes. He was wearing a red earring and four multi-colored feathers in the hair (a green, a yellow and two red). A white line ran through the hair to make the image voluminous. Two red lines bordered the black ring with the name of the team inside.
1957 – 1965
Obviously, the sixth Chicago Blackhawks emblem showed minor alterations. The black ring with the inscription “Black Hawks Chicago” remained unchanged. The white lines in the Indian’s hair turned yellow. One of the red feathers was changed to orange. In addition, Native American facial features were modified again.
1965 – 1989
1965 brought changes to Black Hawk’s head, but these ones would endure for two decades. The black roundel was removed from the logo, leaving the Indian’s head to serve as the team crest. The facial features were softer and simpler; the forehead was a bit elongated. The portrait had a neutral expression. The red and white stripe on the forehead turned black. The given logo would undergo only slightly changes to this day.
1989 – 1996
By the end of the 1980s, graphics and color were pretty much improved. The red and orange feathers in the hair were decorated with white lines, while the green and yellow ones were trimmed with yellow and blue lines respectively.
1996 – 1999
The team initiated another logo redesign. It included just a slight shift in the color scheme: the face grew darker, while the outline was colored in a brighter shade of yellow. The green, yellow, and blue colors of the feathers became brighter and sharper-cut.
1999 – present
The tenth logo is still exploited by the Black Hawks franchise. It features more updated graphics and colors. In 2008, the team’s main logo was admitted to be the best in the NHL.