Chicago Blackhawks

Cleveland's Name Change Prompts Questions for the Blackhawks. Here's What the Team Has Said Before

CHICAGO - JUNE 28: Chicago Blackhawks Logo, at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2013 Stanley Cup Championship rally at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois on JUNE 28, 2013.
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

After Cleveland announced its team will be called the Guardians, people are wondering if the Chicago Blackhawks will also undergo and name or logo change.

Here's what Chicago's NHL team has said in the past:

The Chicago Blackhawks will keep the team name, according to reports, despite Friday's announcement from baseball's Cleveland Indians that the team will be called the Guardians.

Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in December that the Blackhawks "continue to deepen our commitment to upholding our namesake and our brand," according to reporting from AP News.

Last summer, the team released a statement standing by the Blackhawks logo and name, which are meant to "celebrate" the legacy of Chief Black Hawk.

“We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation. Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contributions of all Native American people," the Blackhawks said in a statement last summer. We will continue to serve as stewards of our name and identity, and will do so with a commitment to evolve. Our endeavors in this area have been sincere and multi-faceted, and the path forward will draw on that experience to grow as an organization and expand our efforts.”

Blackhawks officials noted in the full statement that the team works to provide a platform for "genuine dialogue" with local and national Native American groups.

The club, originally called the “Black Hawks,” was named after the “Blackhawk Division” of the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division, which served during World War I. That unit had been named after Black Hawk, who served as a leader in the Sauk Native American Tribe during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

The original owner of the Blackhawks, Frederic McLaughlin had to choose a logo, after deciding on a team name with ties to his service in the military, Scott Powers of The Atlantic wrote. He picked the side profile of a Native American.

"The logo was supposedly inspired by the one used by Onwentsia Club in suburban Lake Forest, where McLaughlin played polo," Powers wrote.

The Wirtz family combined the two words into the nickname “Blackhawks” in 1986.

Last summer, the team announced that it would prohibit fans from wearing Native American headdresses to games at the United Center as part of an ongoing community engagement push.

NBC 5 and Associated Press
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