Last week, Cleveland's Major League Baseball team announced they'll be changing their name, dropping 'Indians' as their namesake following the 2021 season. Asked during a media availability whether the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks might be considering a similar move, CEO Danny Wirtz said the hockey club will "continue down this path and continue to hold our brand up in the highest levels of honour.”
“Obviously, we respect the decision the Cleveland Indians made to go down that path, but we continue to deepen our commitment to upholding our namesake and our brand," Wirtz told reporters Thursday morning. "The work we’ve been doing over the last several months and expanding and deepening conversations and partnerships within the Native community, we continue to feel really positive about the types of work we can do, the way in which we can be better stewards of the namesake and the history, and to use our platforms to be educators not only for our fans but for our internal teams and making sure that we provide that reverence and respect that we talk about that.
"We want it to come to life in everything we do across so many dimensions — both from a marketing standpoint, from a learning and education standpoint, and from by all means a community standpoint in ways in which we have integrated Native voices into a lot of those efforts.
"So, we’re going to continue down this path and continue to hold our brand up in the highest levels of honour,” Wirtz concluded.
The Blackhawks' name and logo have been publicly questioned over the years, and again was in the spotlight when the Washington Football Club announced it would be changing its moniker and image back in July. The Blackhawks released a statement at the time, standing by the team's logo and stating that it "symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public."
"We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups," the team said in the July statement.
"As the team’s popularity grew over the past decade, so did that platform and our work with these important organizations."
In November, the club announced it will read a Land Acknowledgement statement before every home game moving forward.