100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

by Tab Bamford
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100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Tab Bamford

With special stories and experiences from fans and memorable moments about past and present players and coaches, this lively, detailed book explores the personalities, events, and facts every Blackhawks fan should know. It contains crucial information such as important dates, player nicknames, and outstanding achievements by singular players. This guide to all things Blackhawks covers the team’s 49-year championship drought, its run to the 2010 Stanley Cup, and the transition from Chicago Stadium to the United Center. Now updated through the 2013–2014 season, it also includes the Hawks’ triumphant win over the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup and the record-setting 2012 undefeated streak.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629372457
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication date: 10/15/2016
Series: 100 Things...Fans Should Know Series
Edition description: Dynasty Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 589,992
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Tab Bamford is the owner and managing editor of CommittedIndians.com, serves as a columnist for the Fourth Period, and has a featured sports blog on ChicagoNow.com. He has professionally covered the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and PGA. He lives in the Chicago suburbs. Jeremy Roenick is a former Chicago Blackhawk. He is the author of J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey.

Read an Excerpt

100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

By Tab Bamford

Triumph Books LLC

Copyright © 2016 Tab Bamford
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63319-638-4


1. Dynasty

It was a crazy night in Chicago. Bars in the West Loop were packed to overflowing as early as 4:00 pm, and there were red sweaters all over the city in spite of the hot and humid weather.

As game time approached, the weather took a nasty turn. Ugly clouds rolled into town, bringing with them a lot of rain and powerful wind. A couple hours before the puck dropped, tornado sirens sounded around the United Center and the heavens opened up.

By 7:00 pm, the United Center was close to bursting. The crown was electric, anticipating history.

Duncan Keith followed his own shot to break open a scoreless game late in the second period.

And with a little more than five minutes left in regulation, Patrick Kane buried an insurance goal.

"We want the Cup!" was the refrain over those final five minutes — a time span that felt like a week for those in the building and watching on television.

Phones were held aloft, recording the events as they unfolded. Photos and videos flooded social media from inside the United Center, in the middle of the streets in Wrigleyville, and from living rooms and bars all over Chicago.

The Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup — again.

"That's three Cups in six seasons. I'd say you have a dynasty."

"And you great fans deserve it."

Those words came from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, standing on the United Center ice on June 15, 2015.

For the third time in six years, Jonathan Toews skated to center ice, paused for a photograph with Bettman, and was then handed the Stanley Cup.

For the third time in six years, Toews handed the Cup to a teammate, who each passed the trophy on until each player on the roster had a chance to raise it high above his head in celebration. In 2010, Toews handed the Cup to Marian Hossa. In 2013, it was Michal Handzus. And in 2015, an emotional — and retiring — Kimmo Timonen received the Cup from Toews.

But for the first time in 77 years, the Blackhawks received the Stanley Cup while standing in their home arena.

Three different players — Toews, Kane, and Keith — have won the Conn Smythe, a testimony to the quality of the core group of players in Chicago. Led by those three, Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Patrick Sharp, the Blackhawks' core led an evolving roster to the top of the game at a time when it appeared to be impossible for a team to stay there.

Since the NHL instituted its salary cap system in 2005, the league has enjoyed tremendous parity; every team in the league has made the playoffs. But the likelihood of a repeat champion has been handicapped significantly; no team has won a championship in back-to-back seasons since the Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998 — before the cap.

Only three franchises — Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston — have made multiple trips to the Stanley Cup Final since the cap was instituted. Boston has won one and lost one (to the Blackhawks in 2013). The Kings have won twice. But the Blackhawks have reinvented their roster around the core and come back time and time again to prove they're a modern NHL dynasty.

How does a team beat the cap and stay on top? Coach Joel Quenneville simply underlined the key to the Hawks' success: "It's ... how [the core players] make guys around them better, play the right way, send the right message, and consistency. New guys coming into the team, they see that's the message, how important winning is to the team, to the players, to the town, to the organization. It's infectious."

The idea that winning would be so closely associated with the Chicago Blackhawks was unthinkable less than a decade ago, when the United Center was more than half-empty and the Hawks were regularly among the worst teams in the NHL. Indeed, the Blackhawks were on multiple "worst in sports" lists from the likes of Forbes and Sports Illustrated only a few short years before Toews, Kane, Keith, and Seabrook were leading the way to an amazing run.

We are living through the golden age of Chicago Blackhawks hockey.

There have been other great groups of players in this franchise's history. In the 1980s, fans were thrilled by names like Savard, Larmer, Secord, Wilson, and Murray. In the 1990s, those names were replaced by Roenick, Chelios, Belfour, and Amonte. But none of those incredibly talented teams was able to capture the Stanley Cup.

We are reminded on a regular basis of how good some of those greats from the past were in the Indian-head sweater. Each season, one of the elite players on this current team climbs the ranks of the history books and passes another all-time favorite.

One by one, the achievements of Mikita, Hull, Savard, Larmer, and Roenick are being caught and passed by Toews and Kane. Slowly, the remarkable résumés of Pilote, Wilson, Murray, and Chelios are being caught and passed by Keith and Seabrook. And Corey Crawford is establishing himself as a player who will be mentioned in conversations with the likes of Esposito, Hall, and Belfour.

Good players have come and gone because of the cap.

Many doubted the Blackhawks could come back from the exodus that followed winning the Cup in 2010. Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, and Antti Niemi were going to be hard to replace, people said.

The roster defections weren't as significant in 2013, but there was still concern that the Blackhawks would be able to sustain their level of play as players like Toews and Kane received new, bigger deals.

After the 2015 Cup victory, there were more roster casualties. Again, there were fans and analysts wondering how the Blackhawks would ever replace Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, and Johnny Oduya.

The front office has either drafted and developed, discovered and signed, or acquired talented players who fill in the team around the core. The coaching staff, which has evolved as much as the roster during the championship runs, has — more times than not — put those players in positions to succeed.

And the players have succeeded more than any other organization in the league.

The Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups in six seasons. And, if history shows us anything, they'll be back in the fight for another one soon.

So enjoy the ride. Fans don't get to enjoy dynasties very often.


The National Anthem

During the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, NHL officials wanted to know exactly how loud the United Center could get. Readings were taken during the first two games of the series against the Philadelphia Flyers, and the numbers were astounding. The highest reading was 122 decibels, as loud as a shotgun blast. And the loudest crowd roar didn't even take place during game action. It happened during the National Anthem.

After the crowd reached 121 decibels during the National Anthem before Game 1, a number of media members brought earplugs with them for Game 2. That was when the United Center crowd reached a level that the building hadn't seen since Michael Jordan retired.

As NHL.com reported, the tradition began in 1985: "Chicago's anthem tradition began during the 1985 conference finals against Edmonton. After dropping the first two games of the series on the road, Hawks fans entered Chicago Stadium on May 9 fully energized and ready to help their team get back into the series. The crowd was so excited they cheered all the way through the National Anthem — and the tradition stuck.

"'When I introduced the anthem, fans just started clapping and cheering,' said Harvey Wittenberg, the Blackhawks' public-address announcer from 1961 — 2001. 'That was the start of the phenomenon.'"

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Wayne Messmer handled the duty of singing the National Anthem. The moment that sticks in most fans' minds throughout the country (and that can still be viewed on YouTube) is Messmer singing before the 1991 NHL All-Star Game at the Chicago Stadium. The Blackhawks were contenders for the Stanley Cup, and the roar literally shook the old building.

Unfortunately, Messmer was shot during a robbery outside a restaurant in April 1994 and was unable to perform at the final six Hawks home games at the Stadium. For those games, the team used a recording of him singing instead.

When the Blackhawks moved from the Chicago Stadium to the United Center, however, the organization also changed National Anthem singers. Messmer performed the song for the last time at the first Blackhawks' home game at the U.C. on January 25, 1995.

In 1995 the Blackhawks opened up the position to a rotation of singers, and one gentleman who tried out has since earned the regular job of presenting "The Star-Spangled Banner" to United Center faithful: Jim Cornelison.

Cornelison started making regular appearances in 1996, but the classically trained opera singer won the permanent job in 2007. "It's really a different situation [from] anywhere else I've sung," Cornelison told NHL.com. "I've always had pregame jitters, and if I don't have jitters then I get jitters because [I] don't have jitters. I think that keeps [me] sharp when [I'm] nervous."

While there has been some discussion from national bloggers about the sanctity of the song, fans, players, and military personnel — active and veteran — who have attended a home Blackhawks game have almost universally agreed that the applause during the National Anthem is one of the best traditions in North American sports.


Stan Mikita

In long history of the Chicago Blackhawks, no player stands ahead of Stan "Stosh" Mikita.

On October 19, 1980, No. 21 was the first to be retired by the organization, recognizing the contributions Mikita made while playing for 22 years in Chicago. He was one of the greatest two-way forwards of all time and remains the gold standard at center for the Hawks.

Born Stanislaus Guoth in Sokolce, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), Mikita emigrated to Canada in 1948 as an eight-year-old with his aunt and uncle, where he took their family name of Mikita. He wasn't blessed with an imposing body like other superstars of his generation, such as Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe; in the tradition of Bill Mosienko and the Bentley brothers, Stosh stood just 5'9" inches tall and weighed just 169 pounds.

After three years in the juniors, he got the call from Chicago in 1958 for a three-game tryout. When he stepped on the NHL ice, he became the first Czechoslovakian-born player in the NHL. That was the first step toward Stosh rewriting the Blackhawks and NHL record books.

In his second full season in the NHL, Stosh led the entire postseason with six goals as the Hawks marched all the way to the 1961 Stanley Cup. Though he would return to the Final in the subsequent 19 seasons, he would never win another Cup in Chicago.

For his 22 years, though, Mikita provided Chicago with the opportunity to watch one of the best to ever play the game. He was named to the NHL's first All-Star team after the 1961–62 season, just the beginning of his recognition as arguably the best player of the decade.

He won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's top point producer for the first time in 1964 and would win it three more times during the decade, in 1965, 1967, and 1968. Since it was first awarded in 1948, only six players have won the Art Ross Trophy four times in a decade: Gordie Howe, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Mikita.

The first time Mikita played in the NHL All-Star Game was also in 1964, and he would return eight more times. He played in the game every year between 1967 and 1975, except 1970.

While 1964 may have been the first time Mikita received leaguewide recognition, the 1966–67 and 1967–68 seasons cemented Stosh as one of the all-time greats. In 1966–67 he tied the league record for points in a season (established by teammate Bobby Hull) with 97 points, winning his third Art Ross Trophy. He added the Hart Memorial Trophy that season as the league's MVP and also won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for being the most gentlemanly player in the game.

No player in NHL history, before or after Mikita, has won those three awards in the same season. And Mikita did it again the following season.

What makes that accomplishment even more intriguing is that Mikita, a fierce competitor, was one of the league's most penalized players early in his career. In four of his first six NHL seasons, Mikita served more than 100 penalty minutes, including a career-high 154 in the 1964–65 season. Yet, after piling up almost six hours of penalties in seven seasons, he was called for only 12 minutes of infractions in 1966–67, an astounding turnaround.

In his autobiography, I Play to Win, Stosh credits a conversation between his daughter and wife for his career taking a turn. Mikita writes that his daughter and wife were watching a game late in the 1965–66 season. When Stosh was called for a penalty, his daughter asked why her father spent so much time sitting alone. When Mikita's wife relayed the story to Stosh, he realized he needed to change his approach and remarkably did so the following year.

Stosh may have had his best season in 1972–73. He scored 83 points despite missing a quarter of the season with an injury. The Hawks reached the Stanley Cup Final that year but lost again to Montreal.

When he hung up his skates for the final time in 1980, Mikita had played more games — 1,394 — than any other European-born forward in history, a distinction he still holds. In 1998 Mikita ranked 17th on Hockey News' list of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, the highest ranking for any player born outside Canada.

Only two players, Alex Delvecchio and Steve Yzerman, have played longer for a single organization than Mikita did for Chicago. His longevity and commitment to the Blackhawks is one of the primary reasons that he is remembered as the greatest player in the team's history. But he certainly builds a strong case with his statistics.

Mikita ranks first in Blackhawks history with 1,467 points (14th in NHL history). His 541 goals rank second behind only his teammate Bobby Hull, and the mark is still among the top 30 in NHL history. Mikita's 926 career assists are 207 more than the second-highest total in Hawks history, by Denis Savard, and still ranks 17th in NHL history.

He also retired as, and still is, the organization's all-time leader in postseason points (150), playoff games (155), and assists (91) and ranks third in goals (59).

In 1976 Mikita was awarded the prestigious Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to the game of hockey in the United States. He was only the seventh player to receive the award.

He earned the ultimate honor, a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, in 1983 and was inducted into the Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. On Opening Night of the 2000–01 season, Mikita was one of three centers named to the Blackhawks 75th Anniversary Team.

No Blackhawks player committed more years or games to the organization than Mikita. He was one of the best players of the Original Six era and remains one of the best centers to ever play the game.

Early in the 2011–12 season, a statue of Mikita and Bobby Hull was unveiled outside the United Center.

Blackhawks MVPs

The Hart Memorial Trophy is the oldest and most prestigious individual award in hockey, serving as the most valuable player award in the NHL. The winner is determined annually by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and it has been awarded 90 times to different players since it was first given in 1924.

Only two eligible Hart recipients — Tommy Anderson and Al Rollins — have not been elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and many deserving players in the 1980s failed to win the award during Wayne Gretzky's stretch of eight consecutive wins.

The following Chicago Blackhawks players have earned the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL:

• Max Bentley: 1945–46

• Al Rollins: 1953–54

• Bobby Hull: 1964–65, 1965–66

• Stan Mikita: 1966–67, 1967–68

• Patrick Kane: 2015–16

The Conn Smythe Trophy — named for the Hall of Fame owner, general manager, and coach of the Maple Leafs — has been awarded to the most valuable player of the entire postseason in each year since 1964. Three Blackhawks — Jonathan Toews (2010), Patrick Kane (2013), and Duncan Keith (2015) — have won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Only three Blackhawks players have been named the All-Star Game MVP: Bobby Hull (1970, 1971), Eric Daze (2002), and Patrick Sharp (2011).


Excerpted from 100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Tab Bamford. Copyright © 2016 Tab Bamford. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Jeremy Roenick,
1. Dynasty,
2. The National Anthem,
3. Stan Mikita,
4. Captain Serious,
5. The Golden Jet,
6. Glenn Hall,
7. Savoir Faire,
8. Pierre Pilote,
9. Tony O,
10. Gramps,
11. Kaner,
12. The Original Six,
13. The First Cup,
14. '61,
15. Rocky,
16. Commit to the Indian,
17. The Drought Is Over,
18. Doug Wilson,
19. Chris Chelios,
20. Duncan Keith,
21. Q,
22. Maggie,
23. The Madhouse on Madison,
24. The Rivalry with Detroit,
25. Dale Tallon,
26. Stan the Man,
27. J.R.,
28. Sharpie,
29. The First Great Hawks Goalie,
30. Eddie the Eagle,
31. The Voice of the Hawks,
32. "Here Come the Hawks!",
33. Hull's 51st,
34. Bob Murray,
35. Brent Seabrook,
36. WWW,
37. No. 2,
38. Twice in 17 Seconds,
39. Roll to Rockford,
40. Meet You in St. Louis,
41. The Great Outdoors,
42. Tommy Ivan,
43. Billy Reay,
44. Head to the Hall,
45. The Curse of Muldoon,
46. Trading Phil,
47. So Long, Savoir Faire,
48. J.R. Gets Traded,
49. Stealing from Detroit,
50. Corey Crawford,
51. Pregame Plans,
52. Cliff Koroll,
53. The Silver Jet,
54. The Bentley Brothers,
55. Bill Mosienko,
56. Mush March,
57. Toss Your Hat,
58. Own a Sweater,
59. Feeling a Draft,
60. Taking 88 at No. 1,
61. Major McLaughlin,
62. Earl Seibert,
63. Rudy,
64. Pit Martin,
65. Jim Pappin,
66. Blackhawks' (Lack of) Media Exposure,
67. Edzo,
68. Troy Murray,
69. BHTV,
70. The U.C.,
71. Tony Amonte,
72. Eric Nesterenko,
73. Secord,
74. Pat Stapleton,
75. Bill White,
76. Niklas Hjalmarsson,
77. Dirk,
78. Stosh's Stick,
79. Attend the Convention,
80. The Habs and the Have-Nots,
81. Close but No Cigar ... Again,
82. Hawks — North Stars Rivalry,
83. Bobby Bounces,
84. The Best Backup in Blackhawks History,
85. The Million-Dollar Man,
86. The Masked Man,
87. The Wild West,
88. Rent-a — Hall of Famer,
89. From Havlat to Huet to Hossa,
90. The '91 Debacle,
91. The 1991 All-Star Game,
92. '92 Sweep,
93. Probie,
94. Big-Screen Blackhawks,
95. Practice Makes Perfect,
96. Howie Morenz Passes,
97. A Picture Worth a Million Words,
98. The Worst MVP Ever,
99. Bob Pulford,
100. Fun Facts!,

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