The Chicago Blackhawks are a hockey team steeped in history. Over the past nine decades, many have donned the Indian Head sweater, but few have done so as the team’s captain. Even fewer have left a lasting impact on Blackhawks fans, who span generations, with their legend touching fans old and new.
Today, we count down five of those said players. Some, have their names immortalized in the rafters of the United Center. All, however, displayed the pride of the Blackhawks during their time with the club, and truly defined what it means to be captain. Blackhawk Up presents to you, our picks for the top five captains of all-time.
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No. 5: Darryl Sutter
Darryl Sutter shouldn’t be in the back of Blackhawks fans minds. The former ‘Hawks captain is now head coach of one of their biggest Western Conference rivals, the Los Angeles Kings. Sutter’s tenure in the sport, both on the ice and behind the bench, is a testament to the world-class leadership skills he possesses.
After years in minor leagues, including a year overseas, Sutter became a Blackhawk at the 1978 NHL Entry Draft, a title he would never relinquish during his playing career. He would make the team the following year, and though he only spent eight seasons in the NHL, he accomplished more than many who played years longer, and he did so all as a Blackhawk.
Sutter’s Blackhawks made the postseason in every year that he played; in fact, his rookie season (1979) was the first year of the Blackhawks’ legendary playoff streak, one that would end 29 years later. From 1992-95, Sutter returned to the Blackhawks as a head coach, and he kept the streak he helped start alive.
Though Sutter’s accomplishments span far beyond the ice, he will always be remembered for his leadership while wearing the Blackhawks sweater. Sutter took the reigns just three years into his NHL career and led by example, with 10 points in his first postseason as captain. Sutter did anything the Blackhawks needed to be a successful team, which is demonstrated statistically; he has more career penalty minutes than points.
No matter the numbers, Sutter’s legacy will stretch far beyond the eight seasons as a player, and three-plus as a coach. He will always be greeted as one of the Blackhawks’ own in the Windy City, no matter which team sits in front of him.
Next: No. 4: Stan Mikita
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