What Hockey Team Is in Chicago? (NHL in Illinois)

In 2015, Chicago’s NHL team accomplished something unheard of in the modern hockey era: they got their third championship in 5 years.

After winning in 2010 and 2013, they went on to win their third Stanley Cup in the 2015 NHL playoffs.

Chicago has been one of the most prominent American cities when it comes to professional sports. For baseball, you’ve got the Cubs, for basketball, you’ve got the Bulls, for football, you’ve got the Bears, and even soccer has an MLS team—the Chicago Fire.

With the city’s long history of dominance in professional sports, there’s no doubt that hockey has made a name for itself in the city.

In this article, I’ll show you what hockey team is in Chicago, where they play, and how you can watch them.

Pssssst! Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other popular blog posts: What Hockey Team Is in Ohio, What Hockey Team Is in Washington State, and What Hockey Team Is in Nevada.

Let’s begin.

Here’s What Hockey Team Is In Chicago:

Founded in 1926 as an “Original Six” team, the Chicago Blackhawks have long been legendary in the hockey world. They play home games at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, and have won a total of six Stanley Cup Championships since their founding nearly 100 years ago. Their most recent championship was in 2015.

Does Illinois Have a Hockey Team?

Yes, Illinois has a hockey team! In fact, they have several hockey teams, including one NHL team based in Chicago.

Here are a few of the most prominent hockey teams in the state:

1. National Hockey League (NHL): The Chicago Blackhawks. This is the most popular hockey team in Illinois. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the oldest National Hockey League teams, let alone one of the oldest major sports teams in Chicago. Founded in 1926, they’ve gone on to win the Stanley Cup six times.

2. American Hockey League (AHL): The Chicago Wolves. This is the “other” professional hockey team in Illinois. The Chicago Wolves are the AHL minor-league affiliate team (farm team) of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

3. United States Pacific Hockey League (USPHL): There are three Tier III junior hockey teams a part of the USPHL in Illinois: Chicago Cougars, Chicago Crush, and Decatur Blaze.

Illinois used to have another professional hockey team. In 1996, the Peoria Rivermen joined the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) where they played until 2005.

Does Chicago Have an NHL Team?

Yes, Chicago, the “Windy City” has an NHL team: The Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks, or “Hawks” compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) within the Central Division in the Western Conference. They’ve won six championships since they were founded in 1926.

They’re known as one of the legendary teams known as the “Original Six”, alongside the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins.

Since 1995, the Blackhawks have played their home games at Chicago’s United Center, which they share with the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They both used to play at the Chicago Stadium.

What Are the Two Hockey Teams in Chicago?

Chicago currently has two professional hockey teams.

In the National Hockey League (NHL), we have the Chicago Blackhawks that play at the United Center at 1901 W Madison St just a short drive west of downtown Chicago.

While the most popular team is the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Windy City also has a minor-league team: The Chicago Wolves. They’re a minor league farm team for the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL.

Chicago also has two junior hockey teams: the Chicago Cougars and the Chicago Crush.

How Many NHL Teams Are in Chicago?

The Chicago Blackhawks are the only NHL ice hockey team that plays in Chicago. They play their home games at the United Center, just a couple minute drive west of downtown Chicago. This indoor arena is located at 1901 W Madison St.

What Is Chicago’s AHL Team?

Chicago’s AHL team is the Chicago Wolves. Often mistaken as the affiliated minor league farm team of the Blackhawks, the Wolves are actually the affiliate for the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Chicago Wolves finished first in the Central Division during the 2021-22 American Hockey League (AHL) season. In the 2022 Calder Cup (AHL playoffs), the Chicago Wolves went all the way to the championship series against the Springfield Thunderbirds. They won their third Calder Cup championship in franchise history by defeating the Thunderbirds 4-1 in the series.

Are the Blackhawks Changing Their Name?

In July 2021, the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB), announced that they would be changing their name after the 2021 season after racial controversy regarding their name stirred among fans and media. 

After this announcement came, it was no surprise that the media began questioning the Chicago Blackhawks since their name and logo is directly associated with indigenous peoples, just as the Cleveland Indians was.

So, will the Blackhawks be changing their name as well?

The answer, according to Chicago Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz is no. The Blackhawks won’t be changing their name. According to Wirtz, “Obviously 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.”

The interesting part is that the Chicago Blackhawks already changed their name. Nearly 40 years ago. In 1986, they officially changed their name from the Chicago Black Hawks to the Chicago Blackhawks

Why Haven’t the Chicago Blackhawks Changed Their Name?

The Chicago Blackhawks have been pressured in recent years to change their name due to the controversy regarding the former Cleveland Indians (MLB) and Washington Redskins (NFL) name change: racial injustice. 

However, the Chicago Blackhawks have responded that they believe their name actually honors the life of a real Native American and they have no plans of updating their logo or their name.

In a statement, the team stated, “The Chicago Blackhawks’ name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public.”

Further, the Blackhawks shared, “We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups. As the team’s popularity grew over the past decade, so did that platform and our work with these important organizations.”

Is Hockey Popular in Chicago?

With an Original Six NHL team, there’s no doubt that Chicago is one of the most prominent hockey cities in the States. But… the question is, how popular are they?

Well, rather than leaving it up for speculation, let’s look at some data!

In 2022, WalletHub crunched the numbers to determine the best cities for hockey fans. In the study, they ranked 72 cities in the United States based on 21 key indicators of a “good” hockey city. Indicators range from stadium capacity to the performance of major teams, and even ticket prices.

In 2022, Chicago ranked 11th among 72 American cities, just behind Sunrise, Florida, and just ahead of Raleigh, North Carolina. For die-hard Chicago fans, this number probably comes as quite a shock. However, this number has been trending downwards for a few years now, due to several factors like recent poor performance, and other controversies within the organization.

According to the Chicago Tribune, WalletHub conducted the same study in 2016, and Chicago was ranked as 5th best. 

How Many NHL Players Are from Illinois?

Many names were made famous in Illinois, due to their dominance playing on the Chicago Blackhawks (think Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Denis Savard, Ed Belfour, Glenn Hall, Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick, etc.). 

However, most of these players weren’t from Illinois. According to data from Hockey Reference, there have been a total of 72 NHL players from Illinois. Some of the most popular players are:

  • Chris Chelios
  • Craig Anderson
  • Tony Granato
  • Tom Fergus
  • Christian Dvorak
  • J.T. Compher
  • Mike O’Connell
  • Josh Manson
  • Joe Corvo
  • Todd Krygier
  • Lee Fogolin

Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023).








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