The Early History of the Chicago Blackhawks

  • One of the most successful hockey clubs in recent years, the Chicago Blackhawks enjoy a rich history that stretches back nearly a century. The club was officially founded in 1926, when Chicago coffee tycoon Major Frederic McLaughlin submitted the $12,000 entry fee to the National Hockey League. McLaughlin’s first move as a franchise owner was to purchase the Western Hockey League’s Portland Rosebuds, which supplied him with players such as George Hay, Dick Irvin, and “Rabbit” McVeigh. 

    When renaming the team, Major McLaughlin looked back to his days of military service for inspiration. McLaughlin had been a commander in the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion during World War I, and he and his division referred to themselves as the Black Hawks, a nod to the Sauk Indian chief who joined forces with the British army during the War of 1812. In their first NHL campaign, the newly named Chicago Blackhawks finished third in the old American Division and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Since its early years, the club has grown into a perennial NHL powerhouse.