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Chicago Blackhawks Dark Era

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07-16-2014, 02:51 AM
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alko
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Chicago Blackhawks Dark Era

I was pretty surprised, when i saw, that Chicago Blackhawks advanced in the years 1947 -1958 only once to playoffs. What was behind this dark period?
There were only 6 teams and only 2 of them dont make the playoffs.

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07-16-2014, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alko View Post
I was pretty surprised, when i saw, that Chicago Blackhawks advanced in the years 1947 -1958 only once to playoffs. What was behind this dark period?
There were only 6 teams and only 2 of them dont make the playoffs.
In short. Hawks was owned by Norris who owned the Red Wings and used the Hawks as a feeder club. His son together with Wirtz then steered the club in the right direction at the end of the '50s.

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07-16-2014, 07:36 AM
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Mike Farkas
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Were the Blackhawks a team where anti-establishment (pro-union, etc.) types were banished to?

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07-16-2014, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Were the Blackhawks a team where anti-establishment (pro-union, etc.) types were banished to?
Sorta kinda.... founded in 1926 by the hilariously eccentric Major Frederic McGlaughlin, Chicago went on to win two Stanley Cups under his ownership, passing away in 1944. Lead by a syndicate fronted by Bill Tobin, James D. Norris Jr. (and James E. Norris Sr. btw also owned Chicago Stadium) along with Bill Wirtz Sr acquired the team in 1946. Interestingly as well, James Norris Sr. who was based in Chicago had coveted the market, his first choice prior to purchasing the moribund Detroit NHL franchise in the early 30's which had fallen into Receivership.

Chicago from 1946 through until 1952 little more than a "farm club" for the Red Wings, Norris Sr.'s & Jr.'s influence also extending into New York (major shareholder in MSG) and Boston (having lent Adams money to bail him out of a financial meltdown). James E. Norris died in 1952, his assets dispersed amongst the children. James D. Norris (Jr.) who had bought controlling interest in Chicago in 1946 however continued to work as an Executive for the Red Wings (no conflict there huh?), resigning in 1952. Margeurite Norris took over as President & COO of the Wings for a few years, then reluctantly stepped aside for Bruce Norris, who owned the team through the 50's-early-80's.

James D. Norris was quite the piece of work in his own right, no small accomplishment considering the huge shadow cast by his father, James E. Norris Sr. Had come up through his fathers business, commodity trading, brokerage, sports facility development & management, hockey of course.... Served in WWII... however..... there was a dark side to this guy (variously described as cold, aggressive, absolutely ruthless as I'll explain in a minute).... had formed the International Boxing Club (or IBC) of New York in 1949, the preeminent promoter of professional boxing in the 50's in the US. James D. Norris Jr was notorious, quite the reputation for Bout Fixing & for forcing Boxers, often against their will to employ his "associates" as Manager, real scary stuff as he was a known associate, Pals with some seriously hard core Mobsters (Cosa Nostra) and on the FBI's "Watch List"... The IBC was eventually broken up by the FBI & US Justice Department, by the courts in 1958, anti-trust issues. Since speculated they stopped short of also going after the NHL for the same thing, a deal cut with Norris that he get the Hell out of Boxing or the NHL would be the next one to go down in his Empire.

Ted Lindsay & the other "Quizzlings" as Conn Smythe referred to the organizers of the "Players Association" were all Sent to Coventry, Chicago in this case. A bit of a basket case of a franchise on & off the ice since their more Halcyon days under McGlaughlin. It doesnt take much of imagination to not understand what mustve been going through Lindsays & the other guys minds who found themselves in Chicago. Perhaps while making their way through the halls of Chicago Stadium to the Dressing Room or whatever, spotting the glowering James D. Norris gunning them, boring eyeballs through the back a their heads. And who mightve been in the company of Jimmie D? Maybe Frankie Carbo with psych job Blinky Palermo in tow. A guys who's fuse would blow at the slightest flicker. No direct violence, but for damn sure its inferred, implied. As in drop this nonsense immediately or "you might have an accident like". Sure Ted Lindsay, most hockey players, No Fear. Tough guys right? Well, theres a difference between being a tough guy mouthpiece on the ice & off it and being an idjit, inviting it.... So ya, "Dark Period" in the Black Hawks history. Turned it around quickly enough though. Excellent Farm System in Southern Ontario with the Dixie Beehives & St.Catherines etc. Cup in 61.


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07-17-2014, 08:34 AM
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Then what of the famous 2 "dark eras" was worse?
1947 -1958 or 1997-2008?

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07-17-2014, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alko View Post
Then what of the famous 2 "dark eras" was worse? 1947 -1958 or 1997-2008?
Oh, 47/58 for sure. As lousy an owner as $Bill Wirtz was, his father Arthur along with the scary James D. Norris & front man Bill Tobin, they didnt even try to improve the club. James D. Norris remaining in Executive position with Detroit until 1952 after buying the Blackhawks in 46/47. Essentially a farm club, team to be subjugated with Detroit ascendent, influence extending to the Rangers & Bruins. He controlled by influence & by rote all 4 US based teams. Imagine the NHL had the Rangers in the biggest US market, center of finance, corporate & media interests at the dawn of television been winning Cups? That generation of fans in the 60's & 70's fanning out to the Southwest, California & Florida etc. America loves a winner, the Red Wings had their run but thereafter but for 1961 it was all Toronto & Montreal. The NHL & the game in general in the States wouldve been way ahead of where its at today. This guy wasnt good for the game of hockey nor for the league let alone just Chicago. Wirtz Jr. a well meaning BoyScout in comparison. Cheap one but still. Chicago competitive, respectable unlike Toronto under Ballard, the Wings under Bruce Norris.

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