As we all are celebrating another 4th of July, it is time for another Blackhawks history lesson, dedicated to the American born players who have worn the Indian Head sweater. There have been 93 American born players in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks, 10 of those have been goalies. In fact, the first ever American born and trained goaltender in the history of the NHL was Mike Karakas, who made his debut with the Hawks in 1936. Karakas was the starting goaltender for the 1938 team that won the Stanley Cup. The only other American goalie to have any kind of success with the Hawks was Craig Anderson who was on the team from 2002 to 2006.
The current roster includes 5 Americans; Brandon Bollig, Dylan Olsen, Jimmy Hayes, Nick Leddy and of course Patrick Kane. Kane could go down as the best American born player in Blackhawks history but he does have some work to do. Kane had 2 other American team mates on the 2010 Cup winning team in Dustin Byflugien and Adam Burish. Tony Amonte scored 541 points in 627 career games between 1994 and 2002 where he wore the C on his sweater for the last two seasons in Chicago. Chris Chelios will go down as one of the best American born defensemen, if not the best in the history of the game. He is one of the best American players in Blackhawks history as he served as team captain from 1995 to 1999 before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings. One of my favorite players as a kid was American Curt Fraser. Fraser was a gritty tough guy who could score some goals too. He was later dealt to the North Stars for another one of my childhood favorites, Dirk Graham. Phil Housley spent the last two seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Blackhawks in 2001-02 and 2002-03. The Blackhawks drafted Chicago born Eddie Olczyk with the 3rd overall pick in 1984. Olcyzk went on to have two successful stints with the Hawks, went on to coach the Pittsburgh Penguins, and now annoys us all in the TV booth with Pat Foley. Gary Suter patrolled the blue line in Chicago with Chelios back in the 90s after a very successful run with the Calgary Flames. But the best American born player in the history of the Hawks was Jeremy Roenick. The Hawks could have some good American talent coming up through the system with Jeremy Morrin, Ben Smith and Brandan Saad all down in Rockford.