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The Waterloo Black Hawks are a Tier 1 junior ice hockey team playing in the East Division of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The Black Hawks' home ice is the Young Arenamarker located in Waterloo, Iowamarker.

Early history

The Waterloo Black Hawks began as a semi-professional team in the USHL in 1962, the league having started only a season before. The team's home ice was the McElroy Auditoriummarker. The team started strong, winning the USHL championship every season from 1964 to 1968. After the 1968-69 season, the Black Hawks went on a one-year hiatus to become the Minnesota North Stars' top farm team, the Iowa Stars. The team finished 35-26-11 in 1969-70, one point behind league champion Omaha (whom the Stars would later lose to in the Central Professional Hockey League final series). The Stars reverted back to the Black Hawks and the USHL the very next year, amid financial losses topping $150,000 and a Stars move to Cleveland.

Early junior history

After another decade of success in the 1970s, including more league titles in 1975, '78, and '79, the Black Hawks reverted to junior hockey with the rest of the USHL in 1979. They immediately won the Southern Division title in 1979-80 before head coach Jack Barzee moved the team to Dubuque the next season, becoming the Fighting Saints in the process. Waterloo was not without a team for long, however, as the USHL champion Hennepin Nordiques opted to move the team to Waterloo before the 1980-81 campaign.

The new Black Hawks, unlike the Black Hawks of old, struggled. From 1980 to 1992, when new head coach Scott Mikesch stepped behind the bench, the team went through eight different head coaches. Five of them coached between 1980 and 1982. After the team's Southern Division title in 1980, the Black Hawks would not celebrate a winning season again until 1993-94, winning 20 games (in a 48-game season) only four times during that span.

The 1990s

Despite bad records and a decaying arena, the Black Hawks managed to turn out several future NHLers in the early 1990s. Twin star forwards Chris Ferraro and Peter Ferraro came over in 1991 from Dubuque and scored a combined 200 points in the 1991-92 season, and just two seasons later, Jason Blake notched 50 goals and 50 assists, the first 50-goal, 50-assist player in the USHL since Thunder Bay's Terry Menard seven years prior.

In 1995, the Black Hawks moved out of the old McElroy Auditorium into the brand-new Young Arenamarker in downtown Waterloo. With that move and new owner Butch Johnson's purchase of the team almost simultaneously, things began to look up for the Black Hawks. Unfortunately, the records did not improve, and the team failed to finish above .500 again until 1999-2000. New head coach Scott Pionk brought a glimmer of hope to the Cedar Valley in 1997-98 with a 25-29-2 record, but a 16-37-3 record the next season led to his departure. Scott Koberinski's 28-26-4 record in 1999-2000, followed by a 25-29-2 record the next year, brought even higher hopes, but a 21-38-2 record led to yet another coaching change.

Recent success

New coach P.K. O'Handley brought immediate changes to the Black Hawks landscape in 2002-03, hauling in Waterloo's first division championship in 23 years with a 38-17-5 record and finishing only two points behind the Lincoln Stars in the Anderson Cup race. The next season brought the Hawks' first USHL Clark Cup championship ever (referenced below), and the first league title of any kind since 1979, despite finishing 4th in the Eastern Division. Once again, O'Handley's leadership brought a title in 2007, this time the Anderson Cup, the first-ever regular season title for the Black Hawks in the junior era. The Black Hawks also found themselves one game away from winning the 2007 Clark Cup, before they were downed 3-0 by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the championship game, and they found themselves in the same state in the 2008 Clark Cup Finals, losing 4-3 to the Omaha Lancers in overtime in the final game of the series. Since the 1993-94 season, the Black Hawks have sent 103 players to the college ranks and have sent 73 alumni to the pro ranks in their 28-year junior history, including 8 current NHL players.

Under the leadership of O'Handley and General Manager of Business Operations Doug Miller, the Black Hawks won the USHL Organization of the Year award for the 2002-03, 2004-05, and 2006-07 seasons. The USHL said of the Black Hawks in 2007, "Once a franchise in a state of disarray, the Waterloo Black Hawks are now among the teams that sets the standard for how a team should be run." [145848] O'Handley also won Coach of the Year honors for the 2002-03 and 2006-07 seasons and the General Manager of Year award for the 2002-03 season.


The Black Hawks have had some memorable rivalries with other USHL teams, most notably the current "Corridor Cup" rivalry with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Other rivalries include a former rivalry with the old Dubuque Fighting Saints (which were the Black Hawks prior to 1980), a rivalry with the Sioux City Musketeers (the only teams left from the 1979 USHL transformation; the Des Moines Buccaneers were added to the league a year later), and the Buccaneers themselves (because of the rich hockey heritage both teams share, and because travel between the two cities has been streamlined with four-lane retrofits of U.S. Highway 20 and Iowa Highway 330. During the 1990s, the Black Hawks - Buccaneers rivalry was not nearly as active as it is now, due to the Buccaneers' usual stance at the top of the league and the Black Hawks' perennial place in the USHL's basement. Since the Buccaneers' fall from domination at the end of the 1990s and the Black Hawks' recent rise, the teams have found themselves on much more equal footing lately, and the rivalry is as alive as ever.


Black Hawks games are often loud and crowded; the Black Hawks have grown their home attendance each season for the past seven years, a feat the team claims has never been accomplished in organized hockey. Most of those fans have cowbells, adding to the noise in the arena. Also contributing to the arena's noise level is the low ceiling, which bounces noise right back to the fans, and a portable train horn, which sounds with every Black Hawks goal.

Glenn Frey's "Partytown" is played after every home goal, while Billy Idol's "Mony Mony" is played to start every period.

Former Black Hawks in pro hockey

Current roster

24 Kinman, Matthew,17 Palmquist, Zach ,9 Sova, Dan ,3 Thompson, Blake,44 Turgeon, Tony ,22 Ebert, Nick ,29 Arnold, Derek,18 Barnes, Tyler ,20 Brown, JT ,4 DeMartino, Justin,15 Divjak, Patrick ,19 Hill, Jamie ,10 Jonzzon, Soren,12 Montpetit, Brock,14 Ravndalen, Bryce ,21 Sorkin, Nick ,28 Vail, Brady ,16 Wamsganz, Scott,53 Ward, Taylor ,27 Warner, Colton ,61 Zepeda, Tyler ,1 Belfour, Dayn ,30 Motte, CJ,



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