Hockey History Helps Veterans

See Sweaters Friday, Make Bids on Thanksgiving

The first hockey players to ever take the ice in the Cedar Valley pulled on their jerseys to benefit veterans; the Black Hawks will honor that heritage on Veteran’s Day with 1927 replica Waterloo jerseys, presented by American Pattern.

Ninety years ago this winter, Waterloo’s Becker-Chapman American Legion Post staged the community’s first hockey games at the National Cattle Congress Hippodrome.  During a four-year span, matchups against opponents from as far away as Chicago, Kansas City, and Winnipeg attracted tens of thousands of fans.  The team’s success – competitively and financially – inspired discussion about forming an Iowa American Legion league representing many of the state’s larger communities, and it might have happened, if not for the onset of The Great Depression.

As a fraternity of former World War I soldiers, one of the American Legion’s initial missions was to provide support to veterans in need.  Hockey games were one of many projects the Becker-Chapman Post undertook for that purpose and in service to the community.

“Wearing these jerseys gives the Black Hawks the chance to honor the servicemen who first brought hockey to Waterloo while also raising money for a cause they would have wholeheartedly supported,” said Black Hawks Vice President of Sales and Marketing Joe Greene.

The 1927 replica sweaters will be worn during Friday’s game against the Sioux City Musketeers, but auctioned after the Hawks’ Thanksgiving game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.  Profits from the jersey sale will benefit Waterloo-based Americans for Independent Living.  The organization builds or modifies homes for veterans who have sustained major injuries.  Americans for Independent Living is currently renovating a home on Waterloo’s east side which will become a shelter for homeless veterans in Black Hawk County.

Recreated from limited photographic evidence, Waterloo’s replicas are mostly black with a series of white stripes circling the sleeves.  A winged logo with crossed hockey sticks and the letters W-A-L (for Waterloo American Legion) appears in white on the chest.  While the reproductions are made from modern materials, the originals would have literally been sweaters.  Friday’s jerseys also add player names and numbers, which would not have been present in 1927.

Read more about Waterloo’s Becker-Chapman hockey club in The Legion Team; Forgotten Hockey in Waterloo, 1927-1930, released in 2013 and available from Party Town Outfitters at Young Arena or online by clicking here.

Tickets for Waterloo’s 7:05 p.m. Veteran’s Day game against the Sioux City Musketeers are available by calling the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 by clicking here.

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