The Chicago Blackhawks may not have the red, white, and blue color scheme of their Original Six cohort New York Rangers, but they are just as crucial to the development of hockey in the United States.
After all, they joined the NHL in 1926 when the league expanded into the US for the first time. They are also named after the Army division of their first owner, Frederic McLaughlin, who served during World War 1 with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division, aka the “Blackhawk Division.”
Leaving aside the fact that that Division’s namesake was Chief Black Hawk, who led the Sauk American Indian tribe AGAINST the US in the War of 1812, the team has had quite a few great American players on its roster over the years, so to help celebrate our nation’s birthday, Madhouse Enforcer has compiled our all-time American All-Star Blackhawks team.
Here are the winners:
No, Craig Anderson did not make the cut, despite morphing into one of the best American goaltenders in the game today. Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour may have a patriotic nickname, but alas, he isn’t an American at all, but rather a Canadian.
Instead, the honor will go to Mike Karakas, who won 114 games with the Black Hawks (as they were known until 1986) and also led the team to the 1938 Stanley Cup championship. He did lose 165 games and help the Hawks to 52 ties during that tenure, but we won’t hold that against him.
Several players earned their way to honorable mention spots, including Dustin Byfuglien, who scored 55 goals in his Hawks career. Jack O’Callahan, who was a member of the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team that defeated the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, is also an honorable mention with 15 goals and 64 assists in his career with the Hawks. Defenseman Gary Suter also had a great career, with 179 points (53 G, 126 A) in 301 games with the Hawks.
None of those players had quite the impact that Chris Chelios did during his stint with his hometown team. He racked up 487 points (92 G, 395) in 664 games in Chicago, and was also the team’s captain from 1995-99.
He also had Samuel L. Jackson as a coach:
Joining Chelios on the blue line will be John Mariucci. We’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard of him, but he was the captain of the Hawks in the 1945-46 and 1947-48 seasons. He may not have had the most sterling offensive numbers, with only 11 goals and 34 assists in his Hawks career, but he did something far better than put up numbers: he served his country.
The three year gap in Mariucci’s career came during World War II, when he served his country in the US Coast Guard. If anything qualifies you to be a defenseman, then it’s defending your nation in a time of crisis, and Mariucci rose to the occasion.
Carl Dahlstrom (not to be confused with Carl Dahlstrom, a Swedish defenseman that the Hawks took in the second round of this year’s NHL Entry Draft) is an honorable mention at center, with 88 goals in 342 games with the Hawks, as well as being a member of the 1938 Cup winners. Broadcaster Eddie Olczyk also has to be mentioned, with 77 goals and 132 assists with the team.
The three forwards for the Hawks’ All-American squad, however, are all top shelf talents. Tony Amonte will take a spot at one of the wing positions, with 268 goals in 627 games for the hawks. He also wore the captain’s “C” on his jersey from 2000-02.
Joining him on the other wing will be current Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, who has not only won two Stanley Cup championships with the team (as well as the 2013 Conn Smythe trophy, given to the playoff MVP) but also has scored 149 goals and dished out 275 assists in his 446 game Hawks career.
He also scored this memorable goal:
Centering those two will be none other than Jeremy Roenick, who scored 267 goals in a Hawks career that electrified the city. After all, what other Blackhawk could possibly have "Eye of the Tiger" play over his career highlights?
Finally, we need a coach for our team, and fortunately for us, the Blackhawks have only had one American coach: Bill Stewart. He led the team to the 1938 Stanley Cup championship, and he was elected to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. He also was, of all things, an umpire for the National League during the 1930’s, and only quit because of a bad case of appendicitis.
Now that’s hockey tough.