Tri-Cities Blackhawks

Tri-City Blackhawks

Hawks Timeline


Buffalo, Tri-Cities Team Formation

On December 27, 1946 only 13 games into their inaugural season owner Ben Kerner moved the team to Moline, Illinois, which at that time was part of an area then known as the "Tri-Cities": Moline, Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa. Kerner renamed the team the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in reference to the Black Hawk War that was mostly fought in Illinois.

Move to Milwaukee

The Blackhawks finished last in the Western Division and missed the playoffs. By then, it was obvious that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support an NBA team. After the season, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became the Milwaukee Hawks.

Move to St. Louis

In 1953, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, and in 1955 the Hawks moved yet again, this time to St. Louis, Missouri, Milwaukee's rival in the beer industry, and became the St. Louis Hawks.

NBA Finals Winners

NBA Finals - 1958
The 1958 NBA World Championship Series pitted the Western Champion St. Louis Hawks against the Eastern Champion Boston Celtics. The Hawks won the series in six games to become National Basketball Association champions for the first and only time.

After suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Celtics in Game 7 of the 1957 NBA Finals, St. Louis survived rough times in the 1957-58 NBA season, coming back to the NBA Finals to face the Celtics once more. The teams split the first two games and were tied 49-49 in the third game when the series' decisive play occurred. Bill Russell soared high to block a shot by Bob Pettit, landed heavily on his right ankle and collapsed in a heap on the floor with a severe sprain. He missed the next 2 games. Boston won just one more game, the fourth, as the Hawks gained revenge with a six-game series victory that gave them their first and (to date) only NBA championship.

Move to Atlanta

Unable to resolve the arena situation, Kerner sold the Hawks to Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins and former Georgia governor Carl Sanders, who moved the team to Atlanta in 1968. While a new arena was being constructed, the team spent its first four seasons playing in Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum, winning their first Division title in the 1969 - 1970 season with a 48–34 record in the Western Division.

Ted Turner's ownership

Cable network entrepreneur and Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner bought the team n 1976, Turner bought the Atlanta Hawks, partially to provide programming for WTCG. The Hawks were the only NBA team in the Southeastern United States, just as the Atlanta Braves were the only Major League Baseball team in the region for many years to come. Turner's ownership was instrumental in keeping both teams in the region.

Time Warner Ownership

Time Warner subsequently acquired Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System in October 1996 and the team Atlanta Hawks.

Phillips Arena Opens

Following the 1997 playoffs, the Hawks then moved back to Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Georgia Institute of Technology, with the Georgia Dome used for larger-capacity games, until Phillips Arena opened before the 1999 - 2000 season. Philips Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Atlanta, Georgia. It was completed and opened in 1999 to replace and occupying the former site of the Omni Coliseum, at a cost of $213.5 million. The arena seats 18,047 for basketball.

Atlanta Spirit LLC's ownership

In March 2004, the team was sold to a group of executives by the name of Atlanta Spirit LLC by Time Warner, who inherited the Hawks and Braves upon its merger with Turner Broadcasting in 1996, along with the Atlanta Thrashers pro ice hockey team now the Winnipeg Jets, with which the Hawks shared the Philips Arena, which replaced the Omni. During the off-season, the Hawks sent Jason Terry, Alan Henderson, and a future first round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. After the change in ownership, the Hawks still struggled. In the 2004 - 2005 season, the Hawks were the league's worst team with a mere 13 victories, five fewer than even the expansion Charlotte Bobcats and the struggling New Orleans Hornets. It was also the year Josh Smith won the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest.

Primary Logo History No Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

Tri-Cities - Milwaukee - St. Louis - Atlanta

Blackhawks - Tri-Cities located in the midwest, in lands which once belonged to the Kickapoo, Sauk, and Fox indians. The three tribes fought a long war against the United Stated called the Blackhawk war after their chief Blackhawk.

Philips Arena
1999 - present
Georgia Dome & Alexander Memorial Coliseum
1997 - 1999
The Omni
1972 - 1997
Alexander Memorial Coliseum
1968 - 1972

*St. Louis*
Kiel Auditorium
1955 - 1968

Milwaukee Arena
1951 - 1955

Wharton Field House
1946 - 1951

Atlanta Spirit, LLC
2004 - present
Ted Turner/Turner Broadcasting
1977 - 2004
Tom Cousins/Cousins Corporation, Carl Sanders
1968 - 1976
Ben Kerner
1946 - 1968

Established: 1946

League History:
National Basketball Association
1949 - present
National Basketball League 
1946 - 1949

Team History:
Atlanta Hawks
1968 - present
St. Louis Hawks
1955 - 1968
Milwaukee Hawks
1951 - 1955
Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1946 - 1951

NBA Championships: 1

Retired Numbers:
9 Bob Pettit
21 Dominique Wilkins
23 Lou Hudson
55 Dikembe Mutombo
- Ted Turner

  *Red is this team's history

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