There are a couple storylines surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks as the team rolls into Rogers Arena tonight to play the Vancouver Canucks.
On the ice the team is struggling (well, relatively), as they find themselves at the bottom of their division. Considering that the Blackhawks haven’t finished at the bottom of their division since the arrival of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane 10 years ago, this is quite the shock for one of the league’s most successful franchises of the last several years.
Things aren’t as explicitly bad off the ice. Yet.
Earlier this week, the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball announced that they would be dropping their mascot and one of their main logos, Chief Wahoo, by 2019. The logo has been widely regarded as racist, as it pictures a smiling caricature of an Indigenous leader.
The NFL has been dealing with a similar controversy, as the Washington Redskins franchise has come under fire for not looking to change its name or its logo. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doubled down on the issue after Cleveland’s decision, declaring that he would not be stepping in to force Washington and its owner, Dan Snyder, to change the name.
The Blackhawks and owner Rocky Wirtz haven’t had to face the same line of questioning, though it seems as if Cleveland’s decision might finally force them to acknowledge the inappropriateness of the logo and the team’s name.
The logo is considered one of the professional sports’ finest, and it routinely tops lists of the best NHL insignias, mostly because of the detail that defines it.
And while public opinion on whether or not the Blackhawks should change the name and logo is divided, it’s pretty clear from this corner that the team should follow professional baseball’s lead and get with the times.
According to the Atlantic, the American Psychological Association “declared a decade ago that Native American names and mascots created a ‘hostile learning environment’ for native students”. And yet, the Blackhawks are welcomed into Rogers Arena on what’s being billed as ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ night.
It’s a complicated issue and it’ll no doubt rear its head after Cleveland’s decision. The Blackhawks should do the right thing and look into other options that don’t involve appropriating cultures they have nothing to do with.
Some have suggested a similar logo involving a bird. That seems like a good route. The Blackhawks should make the decision on their own before the public fully starts rallying against it or the league makes them switch things up.
That would be a bad look.