The Chicago Blackhawks Should Create A Team Hall of Fame

There has been and will continue to be a lot of talk about the Blackhawks retiring certain players’ numbers. On the 28th of each month we’re spending time making the case that the Hawks should take Steve Larmer’s number out of circulation (#retire28).

But there’s another consideration for the Blackhawks when we talk about honoring the past greats in franchise history that’s equally impressive but less exclusive than retiring a number.

On Wednesday morning, the Edmonton Oilers announced they’re creating a team hall of fame. Which got us thinking…

The concept of a team hall of fame is more open to individuals who made a significant impact on the organization than just players. And the Blackhawks have their share of great coaches and broadcasters, some of whom are already inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto (and others who will be some day) to consider when celebrating their great history.

The Chicago Cubs already have their own hall of fame. They recently created a feel-good moment when they broke the news that Pat Hughes was being inducted by giving him notice live on the air.

If you didn’t know, the Chicago Blackhawks’ first season was the 1926-27 season. Math tells us the Blackhawks organization is closing in on its 100th anniversary, which makes the next few years a great time to consider creating their own hall of fame.

There are a number of players from the recent dynasty teams whose numbers won’t be retired; they’ve already given away Niklas Hjalmarsson’s No. 4. And a player like Corey Crawford, whose numbers compare favorably to some of this generation’s best but who has not — and will not — get the league-wide recognition he should, isn’t going to have his jersey retired by the club.

But both — and players like Patrick Sharp (who shared No. 10 with Tony Amonte) — would also be strong considerations for a Blackhawks Hall of Fame.

Others, like Larmer and Doug Wilson — who have legitimate cases to have their numbers retired — would certainly be able to receive the recognition from the franchise they deserve. Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Amonte, Ed Belfour and even Dirk Graham would be possible inductees.

And others from further in the past, like the Bentley Brothers and Bill Mosienko, are rarely still talked about but were important in the early days of the franchise and are in the Hockey Hall of Fame’s museum as well.

Some players, like Eric Nesterenko (the first Blackhawk to appear in 1,000 games for the club), would be worthy of receiving permanent recognition as well but come with the caveat that Nesterenko’s assault of Willie O’Ree in 1961 would complicate celebrating his place in Blackhawks history. Hell, Bobby Hull’s number is retired and he’s a controversial figure for many fans.

Pat Foley talked a lot about growing up listening to Lloyd Pettit. Both are Hall of Famers as broadcasters, and both is worthy of a spot in a Blackhawks Hall of Fame as well. And there have been plenty of coaches to consider, though the most recent likely candidate — Joel Quenneville — would have to be considered in the context of the Kyle Beach sexual assault.

The reality is that the Blackhawks have a long, storied, complicated history with owners, coaches, broadcasters and players who have sold jerseys and tickets and on-air ads and made the Blackhawks part of the soul of the City of Chicago. And a Blackhawks Hall of Fame would be an appropriate way to not only celebrate that history — which is nearing 100 years — but also better represent the context of the careers of some of the Original Six franchise’s best individuals in its history.

written by

Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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