Former Black Hawks Currently In The NHL [Then & Now Photos]
The Cedar Valley area has a long, rich history with the sport of hockey. It really dates all the way back to a legion team that played in Waterloo in the late 1920's. Jumping ahead a few decades, the Waterloo Black Hawks and the United States Hockey League came to town in 1962. At that point, they were a semi-professional team, playing at McElroy Auditorium. Those teams racked up 8 semi-pro titles from the early 60's through the late 70's. Personally, I remember going to many games and watching these grown men playing (most of them) without helmets and masks and thinking, "boy these guys are tough". It was the very definition of the old joke, "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out".
In 1979, the Black Hawks converted to (Tier 1) junior hockey with the rest of the USHL. Let just say, the 1980's and 90's were some very "lean" years for the Black Hawks as far as wins and losses go, however they did turn out some future NHL players in the early 90's. Then it was time for a new venue. In 1994, the Black Hawks moved out of the old McElroy Auditorium into the brand new Young Arena in downtown Waterloo. Now fast-forward to 2002 and the arrival of coach P.K. O'Handley.
O'Handley hit the ground running, delivering the Waterloo Black Hawks their first division championship in 23 years, finishing two points behind the Lincoln Stars in the Anderson Cup race. The nearly instant success continued the next season, when the Black Hawks won the USHL's 2003-04 Clark Cup championship. It was the first league title of any kind since 1979. In 2007, the team won the Anderson Cup, the first-ever regular season title for the Black Hawks in the junior era. The remarkable success on the ice continued competing in the Clark Cup finals in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2014. Adding in Anderson Cups titles in 2013–14 and 2017–18.
A special "thank you' to long-time radio play-by-play announcer and, (whom I refer to as) the "team historian", Tim Harwood for his vast knowledge in putting together the player biographies and assembling the photos below. For a deep dive into the team's history, check out Tim's Black Hawks Chronicle: Five Decades of Teams, Games, and Players available here.
Head out to Party Town (Young Arena) and catch a game because there's a good chance you're watching at least one future NHL star in the making. Over the years, there have been 28 Black Hawks alumni who have made it to the NHL. Of those, 19 played for O'Handley and 12 of those players are still active this season. From NHL superstar Joe Pavelski to Waterloo's own Cal Petersen, scroll down as we take a look at "Former Black Hawks Currently In The NHL [Then & Now Photos]".