Fansided
Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Youth Outreach Continues With Roller Rink

kneelbeforesaad
Feb 18, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks president and chief executive officer John McDonough speaks with the media on the steps outside the north entrance after a ceremony honoring the 2015 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in the East Room at the White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks president and chief executive officer John McDonough speaks with the media on the steps outside the north entrance after a ceremony honoring the 2015 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in the East Room at the White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Youth hockey in the Chicagoland area isn’t as big as in some other areas with professional hockey teams, but the Chicago Blackhawks have taken a step toward improving that

There’s little doubt plenty of young people enjoy playing hockey within the Chicagoland area, under the shadow of the hometown Chicago Blackhawks. But compared with spots in Canada, Minnesota and the East Coast, Chicago is certainly lacking in options to help push those kids to greater hockey heights while also keeping them in the area as long as possible.

The Blackhawks took another step to try and change that this week. Dnainfo.com’s Alex Nitkin reported yesterday that Edison Park — roughly a half-hour’s drive from the United Center — is receiving an outdoor roller rink funded by a donation from the Blackhawks.

City officials hope the rink will be ready for use “by the outset of the summer,” according to Nitkin’s article. The rink will sit 75 feet wide and 175 feet long, just short of the 85 by 200 dimensions of a regulation NHL rink. And it will be for use in roller skates versus ice skates.

Chicago Blackhawks

While the new rink will likely be a surprise to many youths and their families, it shouldn’t be a surprise where it’s located. Blackhawks CEO John McDonough was raised in the Edison Park area as a child.

Adds to earlier efforts

Behind success on the ice earlier this decade, the Blackhawks are now making a concerted effort give young hockey players more avenues to practice in the Chicagoland area and stick around once they get older.

Another of those concepts came in the form of the team’s new practice facility. In June 2016, the team broke ground on said facility, which will stand at the previous site of the Malcolm X College just beyond the United Center.

In addition to servicing the Blackhawks, in place of Johnny’s IceHouse West, the 125,000 square foot facility will host non-Blackhawks entities “94 percent of the time,” according to an article from Chicago Cubed.

It’s pretty clear what the Blackhawks are going for with complexes like this and the roller hockey rink. While the former is still going to help the team prepare for games, both facilities are important to getting local youths in the game.

The Blackhawks during this season pushed a campaign known as “Our Rinks,” which saw the likes of Ryan Hartman and Scott Darling take to the streets and Chicagoland homes to engage in pick-up games with youngsters.

Next: Blackhawks Roundtable: Old D-Man And Top Prospects

Chicago can’t currently benefit from having any sort of Division I college hockey team (it has two Division III teams), so it has to find other ways to keep local kids in the area and playing the sport as long as possible. On the back of recent success, it’s wise for the Blackhawks to invest in the area while it’s easier for them to do so.

facebooktwitterreddit