Portland Winterhawks drop iconic Chicago-based logo, citing racial insensitivity

Are the Blackhawks next?


The WHL's Portland Winterhawks have unveiled a new logo today, replacing the Chicago Blackhawks inspired logo that the team has used since 1976.

First off, here's the new logo:

Not bad, honestly. While I'm a big fan of the original logo, I think I might actually prefer this new logo. The hidden mountain motif is a very cool idea. More than that though, it's an actual hawk which makes sense given the team's name and secondly I think it looks great with the team's rebranded word mark logo:

What gets me though is that the team felt the need to cave to pressure from fans who called the old logo "racially insensitive." Few know that the Winterhawks came to don the Blackhawks' logo/jersey after a connection between the two franchises in the Winterhawks' infancy. Essentially the Blackhawks had some extra jerseys to lend out and the Winterhawks, being a cash strapped junior hockey team in the 1970s, simply adopted the loaners as their full-time uniform.

As for the Blackhawks themselves, the name and logo pays homage to an actual person. Chief Black Hawk was a warrior from the Sauk tribe and an important figure in the Illinois state history. Black Hawk led the Sauk into war against British Illinois settlers to defend their land. He leaves behind a legacy of fierce protectionism and defending what is rightfully yours. Besides the NHL team named in his honor, Chief Black Hawk's name is utilized by the U.S. Navy, several Illinois high schools including Blackhawk Middle School and Black Hawk College and several amateur sports teams. In fact, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks were established as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks after Chief Black Hawk. So for anyone offended by the name Blackhawks... I suggest you do your homework.

In any case, today's announcement of the Winterhawks' logo change starts a new era in team history. For a team that boasts three WHL championships and two Memorial Cup championships and has developed dozens of future NHLers including stars like Mark Messier, Cam Neely, Marian Hossa, Matt Dumba, Seth Jones, Brendan Morrow, Mike Vernon and Glen Wesley, the Winterhawks have a lot of history. That history isn't through with today's unveiling, but it certainly feels like the franchise has entered into a new chapter.