Since 1964, only a few Novembers have passed without a Thanksgiving hockey game in Waterloo; as the Black Hawks prepare for the city’s 50th Thanksgiving home game in 2020, a new book looks back on the special tradition which holds a unique place in junior hockey.
50 Thanksgivings; Waterloo’s Hockey Holiday, reviews the 50 games played on the final Thursday in November (including the only “away” game, when the Black Hawks skated in Sweden during a 1968 trip to Europe). The tradition has been a rite of passage for Hawks players and fans, and the book provides details about each game, box scores, an index of all Waterloo Thanksgiving goal scorers, and dozens of photos. 50 Thanksgiving also provides a look back on many other Thanksgiving moments in the Cedar Valley, from Santa Claus arriving by train for the holiday in the 1960s, to political candidates circulating through the state ahead of the Iowa Caucuses, to some of the popular gifts fans were likely to be shopping for in the days after the game.
“You have to come out on Thanksgiving night to really appreciate the experience, and for people who have made it part of how their families celebrate the holiday, 50 Thanksgivings will bring back a lot of great memories,” said Black Hawks President of Business Operations Joe Greene. “The photos are great, there is a ton of information, and I think Black Hawks fans will really enjoy this book as they celebrate this milestone with us next month.”
Available in paperback and written by Tim Harwood, 50 Thanksgivings begins with a forward by 2010 Thanksgiving star Ryan Papa. With the Black Hawks as an affiliate that fall, Papa scored the game-winning overtime goal which lifted Waterloo past the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 3-2. It was the first of many moments during his time with the Black Hawks which would make Papa a fan favorite.
Copies of the book can be ordered through through the Black Hawks website (link below) either for pickup at Young Arena or delivery by mail. It is also available from online and traditional booksellers.
Each day this week, the Black Hawks are making a different announcement related to Waterloo’s 50th Thanksgiving home game. On Monday, the team revealed a special Thanksgiving logo. Please watch for another announcement about the holiday tomorrow.