The Chicago Blackhawks Hockey team have an iconic history and an undying fanbase. From their debut in the National Hockey League all the way to their modern era, the Hawks have brought energy and spirit to the Windy City.
If you’re planning your first Chicago Blackhawks hockey game or just want to learn more about the team, we’ve gone through their legacy and listed our top tips for gameday.
History of Chicago Blackhawks
Ice hockey has a long history in Chicago. The Blackhawks were among the first teams to join the National Hockey League and have grown a fanbase extending far beyond the Windy City.
Founding & Namesake
The Chicago Blackhawks Hockey team were founded in 1926 by Frederic McLaughlin, a WWI soldier who commanded a Machine Gun Battalion nicknamed the “Blackhawk Division”. It was named after Black Hawk, a Native American featured prominently in Illinois history. The Blackhawks were one of the original six teams to make up the NHL.
Although the team has recently been pressured to change their name from a Native American icon, the Chicago Blackhawks hockey franchise has committed to keeping its namesake and logo the same.
The team consistently promotes support for the Sauk tribe that Black Hawk came from. The franchise donates to the tribe annually and invites them to perform during their games.
The Chicago Blackhawks hockey team played their first games in the 1926-27 season. During their debut year, the Hawks played at the Chicago Coliseum. The team was successful in their debut season, placing third in the league.
During the 1929-30 season, the Chicago Blackhawks’ home area moved to the newly built Chicago Stadium. The following year, the Hawks made it to their first Stanley Cup Final but lost the series to the Montreal Canadiens. Their first league victory wouldn’t come until three years later when they beat the Detroit Red Wings in game four. Neither team had scored throughout regular time, and the winning goal wasn’t scored until the second overtime period when the Hawks won the game 1-0.
In 1938, the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team would win their second Stanley Cup. The series was played against the Toronto Maple Leafs and took place over 4 games. The Hawks’ goaltender was injured and could not play the first two matches, so they had to source emergency goalies to fill the gap before his return. The 1938 team has the worst regular-season record of any NHL champion to this day.
Frederic McLaughlin passed away in 1944, and the Hawks suffered over 10 years of loss and hardship due to corrupt ownership. In the 1950s, however, the team made 4 amazing signings for players who would end up in the NHL Hall of Fame: Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote, Glenn Hall, and Bobby Hull. The quartet helped the Hawks to secure their third Stanley Cup victory in 1961. Unfortunately, the team would then be faced with a drought for nearly 50 years.
The Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Dynasty to Present Day
The Stanley Cup drought came to an end for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2009-10 season. By this time, the Hawks were playing at the United Center in Chicago, lovingly dubbed the “Madhouse on Madison”.
The Chicago Blackhawks hockey team had been owned by Rocky Wirtz since 2007. He built a great roster in the following years. This team consisted of a strong, young core. These key players were team captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook.
In 2010, the Hawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games to win the Stanley Cup. During this series, defenseman Duncan Keith famously lost 7 teeth after being hit with the puck but returned to the game after only missing 7 minutes.
The Blackhawks would return to the Stanley Cup Finals again during the 2012-2013 season and win for the fifth time in franchise history. This season was unique due to a lockout caused by a disagreement between the NHL and the Players’ Association. The season was set to begin in October 2012 but did not start until January 2013. They beat the Boston Bruins in 6 games to clinch the series.
At the end of the 2014-15 season, the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team clinched their sixth-ever Stanley Cup Championship by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games. This victory sealed the fact that the Hawks had one of the best teams in NHL history. This time period is now known as the 5-year Blackhawks dynasty.
Since 2015, the Hawks have been a low to mid-table team. They could not sort free agency negotiations with players and lost most of the dynasty team. Today, they are currently in a rebuilding phase and have gathered some great prospects in their pool.
6 Tips for Visiting a Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Game
Whether you’re a lifelong Hawks fan or are preparing for your first Chicago Blackhawks hockey experience, there are some things that you must do to prepare for the game. To make your experience great, follow these 6 tips:
1: Choose Your Seats Wisely
At hockey games, there are three periods, and the teams switch sides during the intermissions. This means that the Hawks will shoot at one of the goals twice. If you want to have the best view of the Blackhawks’ goals, make sure to check ahead of time which end they will shoot at twice.
In addition to figuring out which side of the arena to be on, deciding which seating level you prefer is also important. The upper area, called the 300 Level, is much less expensive than the lower bowl seats. In addition, this is where most of the cheering occurs. Because these seats are for middle-class fans, they typically are also the most energetic seats in the Madhouse.
If you choose to sit in the lower bowl area, there will still be tons of energy in the crowd. However, since these seats are more expensive, the fans here are normally more wealthy and less easily riled up.
Glass seats at the United Center are the closest seats to the ice. They are great seats if you want to be close to the action and hear the chirps from the players, but they do come with a downside. They are very expensive, and due to the glass, you may not be able to see the opposite corner from where you’re sitting.
No matter where you sit at a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game, the action and energy on the ice and in the crowd will make it a night to remember.
2: Arrive Early
Arriving early is important for many sporting events. It is a great way to find your seats and get any snacks bought before things get too crowded. This is no different at Chicago Blackhawks hockey games.
In addition to this, arriving early is crucial if you want to get any giveaway promotions the arena is holding. Typically, freebies are given to the first 10,000 people to enter the United Center. These can include bobbleheads, t-shirts, hats, or towels if you are seeing a playoff game.
Before the game starts is also when the players will do warmups and practice. During this time, the Chicago Blackhawks hockey players will be on the ice running drills and stretching to prepare for the game. Watching their practice is a good way to learn the lines that will be playing.
3: Cheer during the Anthem
At the United Center, it is tradition for Chicago Blackhawks hockey fans to cheer during the National Anthem before the game, whereas other arenas tend to stay quiet. This tradition began in 1985 when the Hawks were still playing at the Chicago Stadium.
Although this may seem odd for first-time fans, Chicagoans embrace this tradition and fill the Madhouse with clapping and cheering while their singer, Jim Cornelison, belts the anthem. Next time you see the Hawks, join in on the cheers and truly immerse yourself in the energy of the crowd.
4: Be Ready to Hear Chelsea Dagger
Chelsea Dagger is a song by The Fratellis played by the Chicago Blackhawks whenever they score a goal or win a game. This tradition started during the 2007-08 season when owner Rocky Wirtz wanted a new anthem to energise the crowd.
Typically, only the first 20-30 seconds of the song is played after a goal, so there aren’t too many lyrics to remember. But it is a good idea for any Hawks fan to prepare to sing along.
5: Stay seated when the puck is in play
It is considered bad manners to leave your seat while a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game is in progress. This is because you block the view of those sitting behind you. To avoid this, make sure only to leave your seat when the play has stopped or during an intermission.
Staying seated is also important for your safety. Sometimes, the puck leaves the ice and enters the crowd, making it essential that you stay aware of where it is at all times.
6: Stay after the game
After the end of the third period at a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game, many fans will stay in their seats. Even though it makes sense to start leaving, the Hawks continue to entertain on the ice even after the buzzer.
If they win the game, the Chicago Blackhawks hockey players will skate around the ice giving a hockey stick salute to their fans. This is a great time to snap pictures and give one last cheer to the team.
In addition, the team will also announce the 3 stars of the game. This typically consists of 2 Chicago Blackhawks hockey players and 1 player from the opposing team. Then, players will give interviews on the ice to local media.
Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Games are Great Events for Everyone
It doesn’t matter if you are a new fan, young, old, or have enjoyed Chicago Blackhawks hockey all your life. When you are at the United Center for a game, it is a great experience. From the adoring fans to the action on the ice, the Hawks have built a wonderful atmosphere in their area that even rival teams adore.
From their early start in the NHL to their present-day rebuild, fans continue to stick by the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team and cheer them on. If you listen to these tips, any game day with the Hawks will be a blast.
If you’re spending a day in Chicago, check out our list of fun things to do in the Windy City.
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