The Chicago Blackhawks will soon get a new state-of-the-art practice facility.
The team announced they struck a deal with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to build a new community training center on the grounds currently occupied by Malcom X College, which will be moving to a new campus next year.
The privately-funded $125,000-square-foot structure will house two NHL regulation-sized ice rinks, spectator seating and a dedicated oasis parking lot to serve facility guests and buses, according to plans released by the team.
The building will serve as not only a place to practice for the Stanley Cup champions but also as a center for youth hockey development programs, recreational leagues and other events.
Hawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said the community programs will give youth the opportunity to play hockey that may not have had the means otherwise.
“Hockey’s future is dictated by the ability of kids to get on the ice,” Wirtz said in a statement Thursday. “For those in urban areas like Chicago, that’s an incredible challenge. We want to provide our community the opportunity to learn how to skate and help them develop a love and passion for the sport that has brought so much joy to Chicago and the region these past few years.”
Chicago Blackhawks Charities will oversee the year-round programs and clinics at the training center.
The space is located two blocks south of the United Center on the 4-acre site that is now a campus for Malcom X College.
“Soon Malcolm X will get a new 21st century campus to complement the 21st century education they provide and a site that used to serve one of Chicago’s community colleges will soon serve as a community anchor, bringing even more economic opportunity to the Near North Side,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “This plan creates a permanent home for the Blackhawks to train in Chicago and allows Rush University Medical Center, which has already been a great partner with Malcolm X, to expand it campus and further support the people who live and work in this neighborhood.”
Construction is expected to begin in 2016 and will take roughly two years to complete. The team now uses Johnny’s Ice House West for their practices.