Six months after the Blackhawks and city struck a deal to build a new practice facility right outside the United Center, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved the plan, the team announced Wednesday. The Chicago Zoning Committee unanimously approved it on Tuesday, and was previously given the green light by the Plan Commission in January.
“The Blackhawks are excited not only for what this new facility will do for our franchise but for the benefits it will bring to the community at large,” said Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough via the team's press release. “We are grateful for the support of Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Burnett, and the entire city leadership team, all of whom have been instrumental throughout the approval process.”
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The 127,000 square-foot community training center will feature two NHL-sized rinks, with 94 percent of the operations to be used by the community, including young adult, youth and community programs. It will also serve as the permanent practice home for the Blackhawks, who have used Johnny's IceHouse West as their practice home since 2010.
“The Blackhawks are excited to make this investment in our community and we are committed providing the next generation of hockey fans with a place to learn the game we all love so much,” Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said.
The new facility is expected to open in the fall of 2018.
On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.
They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?
Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.
The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.
Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.
"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."
Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.
"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.
"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."
The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.
Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.
"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."