The Chicago Blackhawks first Russian to play for them came very early in franchise history. He also was the first position player in franchise history to be the Captain of a Stanley Cup champion team.
Johnny Gottselig was born in Russia in 1905, but he moved to Canada early in his childhood and picked up the game of hockey which was a great decision for the youngster.
Gottselig joined the Chicago Blackhawks very early in franchise history scoring 5 times in the 1928-29 season.
The next season he scored 21 times with only 4 assists, so I guess you could compare him to Brandon Pirri as just an offensive threat that couldn’t play a 200 foot game which would have drove Joel Quenneville crazy 80 plus years ago.
His game rounded out and he was on the ice for the 1934 Stanley Cup championship. He scored 4 times during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run in 34. Charlie Gardiner was the Captain of the 34 team, but after his passing that offseason Gottselig became the Captain.
The Chicago Blackhawks after the Cup win in 34 weren’t a very solid team as they struggled without their star goalie.
Somehow the 1938 team got into the playoffs, and then they got hot enough to win the Stanley Cup even though they had a regular season record below .500.
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Gottselig was the Captain that got to hoist the Stanley Cup (not sure if they did that then in 38 but you understand)
Gottselig would play 16 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawk, and then hang up the skates for good at the end of World War II.
After retiring from the Chicago Blackhawks, he would coach them for through the 1948 season but not to a very good record going 62-105-20.
An interesting thing about Gottselig is that with Mr. Wrigley during the 40’s he helped start and coach teams in the All-Girls Baseball League.
Gottselig was a great Blackhawk in the early years of the franchise that’s for sure!
Only 26 more days left until opening night!