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Chicago Blackhawks Break Ground on New West Side Practice Facility

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The $55 million complex will serve not only the team but the surrounding community

Earlier today, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel broke ground on a new 125,000 square-foot Community Training Center just south of the United Center on the city’s Near West Side. The four-acre site was previously the home of Malcolm X College which has since relocated to a new campus across the street. In addition to two regulation size ice rinks with seating for 300 spectators each, the HOK-designed facility will also include new locker rooms, concessions, team fitness facilities, a nearly 24,000-square-foot green roof, and parking for 127 cars and 26 bicycles.

The skating complex will replace the often fully-booked Johnny’s Icehouse as the NHL team’s full-time practice facility but will serve non-Blackhawks entities such as local children's hockey, figure skating, and adult recreational leagues 94% of the time. "This new facility is a win for the Chicago Blackhawks and a win for Chicago’s youth," said the Mayor in a release issued by City Hall. "This training center will be a community hub, providing programs for young people and opportunities for the neighborhood."

The $55 million project will be completely funded through private sources and is expected to create 250 temporary construction jobs and 21 permanent positions when it opens in December of 2017. While early renderings of the project showed placeholder signage of "Chicago Blackhawks XYZ Training Center," hinting at a possible corporate branding tie-up, so far no such title sponsor has been announced.

Despite coming up short of winning this year’s Stanley Cup championship, momentum is on the side of the Blackhawks organization as a $100 million addition to the United Center is also underway. The expanded facility will house administrative offices as well as a new atrium for fans and 10,000-square-foot Bulls and Blackhawks team apparel store. The stadium has been selected as the venue for the 2017 NHL draft, representing the event’s first ever visit to the Windy City.