It’s over. It’s officially over. The Chicago Blackhawks dynasty built around the talents of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane is no more. It’s time to change the name.
With this week’s trade of Kane to the New York Rangers and Hawks captain Toews out indefinitely due to long COVID, there are no remaining links to the 2010, 2013 and 2015 glory days of the Stanley Cup Champion teams. Except the name. Except the unfortunate name.
The Chicago Blackhawks have a problematic name. I write this as a lifelong Blackhawks fan and hockey player. There are photos of me wearing the classic sweater in pee-wee ice hockey. I have photos of my kid wearing the classic sweater. I love that sweater. Wayne and Garth love that sweater. Clark Griswold loves that sweater. During the 100th season of the NHL, everyone agreed the Blackhawks’ sweater is the best. But it’s time to change.
As of now, the Blackhawks are on par with the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs as the last remaining major sports teams with problematic, Native American-related names and/or logos. Thankfully, Chicago fans don’t do the tomahawk chop, but the logo — the thing everyone sees whenever they’re watching the team — is not a great look. It’s also bad when the Washington NFL team did the right thing before you. You should always strive to be better than them. And while it’s not great that all of the components of the winning Hawks are gone, right now is the best time to change.
The Atlanta Braves won the 2021 World Series. The Kansas City Chiefs just won the Super Bowl. Neither of those teams are likely to change their name while winning. The Chicago Blackhawks are far from a championship. The time is right.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks and Blackhawks die-hards, this change could be relatively painless.
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The Blackhawks used to be the Black Hawks. From 1926 to 1986, it was two words. If the club goes back to the original spelling and reminds the public why, it’s not as potentially offensive. This came up in 2020. The team released the following statement: “The Chicago Blackhawks’ name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public.” All of that is fine. It’s great. The team can still “inspire” generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public whilst striving to be better.
Change the name to Black Hawks and adopt the logo of the 86th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Black Hawk Division after Chief Black Hawk. The Blackhawks are thusly named because the original team owner, Frederic McLaughlin, was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. It’s possible to do everything the team claims it’s doing in that 2020 statement with a simple space and a new logo.
Yes, the sweater has to change, but the nearly 100-year-old logo looks great! That’s your new sweater! Keep the black and red, keep the stripes, just replace a head with an eagle. You can even make the eagle hold two hockey sticks so it’s nodding to the current Blackhawks arm patch! Tomahawks kinda look like sticks, and sticks are way less problematic!
The team acknowledges the problems with the name and logo. In addition to that 2020 statement, they finally banned fans from wearing headdresses at games that year. Everyone involved in this acknowledges the problem. The only difference between now and 2020 is the team is the furthest they’ve been from good in nearly 20 years.
It’s simple: Use the original name, use the military logo, keep the color scheme and sell a ton of new sweaters to a fan base that’s loyal to a fault. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of movement on Blackhawks merchandise any time soon. There’s never going to be a better time to get on the right side of history.
Or ignore everything just proposed and change the team to their original name, the Rosebuds. Fans would love that.
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