The Chicago Blackhawks not only have no plans to abandon the Native American references in their nickname and uniforms, team CEO Danny Wirtz vowed Thursday to "deepen our commitment" to what has been their club identity while providing "reverence and respect."
The Washington Football Team announced before this season they were dropping their "Redskins" moniker, long considered to have derogatory connotations. Earlier this week, the Cleveland Indians said they would drop their Native American references after the 2021 season.
That will not be the direction of Chicago's NHL team with a nickname that has been used since 1926. The team first was known as the Black Hawks, before the club made it one word in 1986.
"Obviously we respect the decision the Cleveland Indians made to go down that path, but we continue to deepen our commitment to upholding our namesake and our brand," Wirtz said Thursday.
According to Wirtz, the team has spent the offseason establishing ties with the Native American community. Earlier this year, the team announced it was banning headdresses at home games as part of their continuing pledge "raising the bar even higher" in showing respect to the Native American community.
"The work we have been doing over the last several months, and expanding and deepening conversations and partnerships within the Native community, we continue to feel positive about the types of work we can do and the ways we can be better stewards of the namesake and the history," Wirtz said.
According to the team website, the team name represents a particular member of the "Sauk" tribe of Illinois, which is the present-day Sac and Fox Nation that was forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in the late 1800s.
Wirtz said the team is intent on being educators to provide "reverence and respect," while using the Blackhawks name. The pronounced determination to keep the name comes one day after the team restructured their front office, making Wirtz the chief executive officer after he served as interim president. General manager Stan Bowman was made president of hockey operations.
Jamie Faulkner also was named president of business operations after working as CEO of her own consulting and analytics company. Her husband Colin Faulkner works in the Chicago Cubs' front office.
(Field Level Media)