One of the most iconic logos in all of professional sports is the Indian head logo of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks, one of the Original Six teams of the NHL, which first took to the ice in 1926. The multicolor Indian head called the “coolest logo in sports,” by football coach and TV analyst John Madden, is immortalized by countless embroidered patch images.
The team actually got it’s name from a World War I machine gun battalion, which was named for an Indian chief, Chief Blackhawk. Originally the called Portland Rose Buds, the team was moved to Chicago by owner Frederick McLaughlin (who as a US Army major was a commander of the military unit) and the Native American profile, complete with feathers in his hair, was created by McLaughlin’s wife, Irene Castle.
The logo has only undergone minimal changes from the original image, with the facial features softened and a fierce face expression softened with more of a smile. For two seasons, 1935-36 and 1936-37, the logo had redder skin on the face. Original patches with these previous designs are rare and coveted by collectors of embroidered patches. For many years, the Chicago Embroidery Company made the Black Hawk patches.
A secondary logo patch, two crossed tomahawks with the letter “C,” is worn by players on the shoulder of their jerseys, commonly known as “sweaters” in hockey parlance.
Technically, the team has actually had two names; Blackhawks, and prior to 1986, Black Hawks.
The professional hockey team’s image has avoided much of the controversy faced by other sports teams and college mascots using Native American imagery (Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, the University of South Dakota Fighting Sioux, University of Illinois Chief Illiniwek and many others) due to the iconic, long-lasting design and the respect for the image garnered by the team and its players. A large Indian head is prominently featured on the carpet in Hawks locker room, but woe to the novice visitor who sets foot on the image. Other Original Six teams (Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings) may have larger, more rabid fan bases, but none have a cooler logo.
For more information about ordering embroidered patches or to get a quote for a custom patch contact Chicago Embroidery at www.c-emblem.com or call 312/644-4232