The Chicago Blackhawks have officially purchased their AHL affiliate, with an agreement in place to keep them around for the long-term.
The Blackhawks announced today that they have completed the purchase of the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs. As part of the deal, the Icehogs will remain in the city of Rockford through at least the 2036 season, so fans can rest assured that the team will be around for many years to come.
“The Rockford Icehogs have played a critical role in our franchise’s success, and today, the Icehogs officially become part of the Chicago Blackhawks family,” said Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz. The ‘Hawks will pay approximately $11.8 million to purchase the franchise, and acquiring the AHL affiliate that has been a huge part of the Blackhawks’ legacy.
The Icehogs became the AHL affiliate of the ‘Hawks in 2007. Since then, “128 IceHogs players have skated in an NHL game, 97 of which have skated with the Blackhawks,” said the team’s press release. These include legends like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Beyond the players themselves, head coach Jeremy Colliton was the Icehogs’ bench boss before being promoted to the NHL in 2018.
In addition to the purchase of the team, the Blackhawks also announced that they will be partnering with the city of Rockford in a $23 million revitalization project of the BMO Harris Bank Center, the Icehogs’ home arena. The ‘Hawks will work with a number of donors on the project, including the Illinois Department of Commerce and the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority.
The project is part of an overall $45 billion capital investment plan, Rebuild Illinois, that was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker in order to help revitalize the state’s infrastructure. Upgrades to the BMO Harris Bank Center will include “necessary infrastructure improvements, improved audio-visual and digital technology, enhanced guest experience and concession areas, space for sports betting, and other modernized customer amenities.”
With the official purchase of the Icehogs, the Blackhawks will be able to use the team to develop their young talent for years to come, and with the reinvigoration of their home arena, can look forward to providing entertaining hockey games to Rockford residents for a long time.