Chicago Blackhawks: New Practice Facility Announced

By Colin Likas

It has been noted recently that the Chicago Blackhawks desire a practice facility closer to the United Center, their home arena. Though Johnny’s IceHouse West is just a short drive from the Madhouse on Madison, it appears the Blackhawks will have even less distance between their home rink and newest practice facility.

According to a brief story released by The Associated Press late Wednesday, and reported by CBS Chicago, the Blackhawks will have a new practice facility located where the Malcolm X College currently stands, just outside the large fan parking area at the UC.

The report indicates Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will announce the facility’s creation Thursday. The building will be 125,000 square feet in size, according to the AP report, and it will include two ice hockey rinks and be usable by members of the surrounding community.

The report indicates construction is “expected to begin next year and be completed within two years.” Malcolm X College will move to a new location, making room for the facility.

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  • There are very few set-in-stone details currently out about this proposal, so it will be interesting to hear what Emanuel and members of the Blackhawks brass have to say about this plan tomorrow.

    Johnny’s IceHouse West opened in 2010, and the Blackhawks have held many of their practices there since — though the building wasn’t created for the purpose of hosting Blackhawks practices. Those practices have been open to the public, and we can only hope the practices at this proposed new facility would receive the same treatment.

    It will be interesting to see what all goes into the proposed facility, as the Blackhawks’ main issue with Johnny’s seemed only to be the location, though it’s not as if the building is light years away from the United Center. With 125,000 square feet of space, the Blackhawks could probably put many amenities they also have access to at the UC into this new complex. All involved parties’ ideal cost for building the complex will also be interesting to hear.

    Of course, there was an issue back in 2014 involving a reported mugging at Johnny’s. Considering the Blackhawks’ name and logo are both attached to the building, perhaps the team has been looking for a way to separate itself from that incident.

    Regardless, it’s another way to make the Blackhawks a more desirable option for those currently outside the organization, and a way to ensure better comfort for those already within it.

    What do you think about the idea of a new practice complex?

    UPDATE: Chicago Tribune Chicago Blackhawks beat writer Chris Kuc posted some preliminary sketches of the proposed facility on his Twitter account Wednesday. A look at what he received:

    Preliminary sketch of proposed Blackhawks practice facility. (Screenshot from Twitter)

    Second preliminary sketch of proposed Blackhawks practice facility. (Screenshot from Twitter)

    Third preliminary sketch of Blackhawks’ proposed practice facility. (Screenshot from Twitter)

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