One of ice hockey’s finest teams and one of the “Original Six” clubs that got the NHL started, the Chicago Blackhawks have been delighting hockey fans for nearly a full century. During this time the club has experienced the highest of the highs, with 5 Stanley Cup Titles, but have also seen their fair share of down years as well. Nevertheless, the club has enjoyed a renaissance of late and look well poised to dominate the NHL for a lengthy period of time, bringing excellent passion and skill back to hockey in the Chicago area!
The Blackhawks came into existence in 1926 and quickly became the first team to field a lineup fully of Americans, including famous early players like Doc Romnes and Taffy Abel. In a sport dominated by foreigners and Canadians it was a new development, even within the American NHL!
While several of the early seasons in Chicago came without much success, glory was not too far away. In 1931, the Chicago Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals with stellar play by guys like Johnny Gottselig, Charlie Gardiner, and Cy Wentworth. They would lose the Series but would return in 1934 and find the ultimate success of a championship!
Gardiner was the hero in goal, especially in the final game in which he shut out the Detroit Red Wings even throughout a lengthy overtime. He would tragically die that offseason, but will forever be remembered as a Blackhawks legend.
4 years later Chicago was Stanley Cup Champions again after suffering a rather poor season with a losing record. Incredibly, the team got hot in the playoffs, won a couple key overtime matches, and ended up lifting the trophy! That 1938 Blackhawks had what remains to this day as the worst record for a team that won the NHL!
The team wouldn’t be relevant for quite some time as ownership changed and top prospects were routinely traded away. The times changed for the better in the late 1950’s, when several superstars found there way into joining the club. Guys like Pierre Pilote, Glenn Hall, Stan Mitika, and Bobby Hull would soon become mainstays in the team throughout the next decade. Their climactic point came in 1961, when a 3rd Stanley Cup was won by Chicago.
In the 1970’s, the Blackhawks were one of the most victorious franchises in the league. Key players included Pit Martin, Tony Esposito, and Keith Magnuson. They would reach the Finals a couple times but never managed to win it. Again in 1992, with players Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour, and Steve Larmer the team reached the Finals only to lose. This was becoming a painful stretch of disappointment for Chicago.
But in the late 2000’s, fortunes reversed very quickly. Behind two young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks reached the NHL playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade in 2009. While they did lose following a deep run, they were able to return the following season and claim the Stanley Cup, thanks to an overtime goal from Kane.
Another championship followed in 2013, and the Chicago Blackhawks have since been one of the best teams in professional ice hockey. With two relatively young superstars continuing to play well, the future beckons very well for this tremendous and proud club!
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