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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The evolution of Chief Black Hawk

This graphic is from the Chicago Sun-Times

You know in light of the Black Hawk's remarkable playoff run I may be going overboard just a little bit on Black Hawks stories. Just yesterday, I had posted about why I make the team's nickname into two works instead of the officially used one word as it has been since 1986.

Today's post is about the Black Hawk's logo. It has been an enduring one and is easily one of the most recognizable in sports. People from 80 years of age to 8 (according to this Sun-Times article) will be wearing some Black Hawks paraphernalia.
The Blackhawks logo has gone through many changes in its evolution, much like the team it represents -- one that stands just four wins away from its first Stanley Cup since 1961.

It was first introduced to the world in 1926 after team founder Frederic McLaughlin's wife, Irene Castle, designed it for her husband's franchise, which was in its infancy.

McLaughlin, a Harvard-educated coffee tycoon, named the team after a renowned leader of the Sauk tribe -- Chief Black Hawk -- after serving in a U.S. Army infantry unit that called itself the Black Hawks during World War I.

Castle was a popular ragtime dancer and vaudeville performer whose innovative style made her a trend-setter in the fashion realm. But perhaps her most durable legacy was coming up with the long-lasting symbol of the Original Six franchise.

Originally outlined with a black-and-white circle, the logo was ringed with the word "Black Hawks" on top and "Chicago" on the bottom. Facial features were few and far between, but it would become the groundwork for the icon going forward.

In 1937, color was added to the design as well as facial features. The feather, too, was more detailed. By 1960, the franchise had abandoned the encapsulating circle, and the profile took on a wider look. War paint, along with red, green, yellow and orange feathers adorned the back of the head.

Ten years later, the face took on a slimmer look and darker complexion. Today, it's very much the same as it was 40 years ago.
Enduring and believe it or not I have a jersey (actually a training jersey that I had bought in 2002) at home. Often I would wear it around campus and had more meaning as last year the Hawks were in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. That run was remarkable as it marked a turnaround for the original 6 NHL franchise especially since almost a year before Bill Wirtz (some fans may refer to him as "Dollar Bill" because he was unpopular) had passed away.

What ought to be next is a championship history since I did one with the Bears when they went to the Super Bowl. I wonder if I'll have enough time to do some before the Stanley Cup finals commence on Saturday!

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