Nick Schmaltz

Chicago Pro Hockey League set to kick off at MB Ice Arena

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USA TODAY

Chicago Pro Hockey League set to kick off at MB Ice Arena

Hockey in July? Sign us up.

The Chicago Pro Hockey League is set to begin on Wednesday at MB Ice Arena — the home of the Blackhawks practice facility — which will feature more than 80 professional hockey players from the NHL, AHL and ECHL, along with 80 elite amateurs from various Division 1 colleges, junior teams and AAA programs. 

Among the notable participants: Brandon Bollig, Alex DeBrincat, Connor Carrick, Ryan Dzingel, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza, Henri Jokiharju, John Moore, Jordan Oesterle, Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz, Garret Sparks and Tommy Wingels. USA Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne is also slated to play and will be the only female to do so.

Patrick Kane was originally listed as part of the roster but is no longer on it, although he could make an appearance if his schedule allows it.

Joel Quenneville spoke at the NHL Draft about the summer league and plans to attend.

"I probably will stop by and watch some games," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's good for the agents, good for the players. The Boston league seemed to work well and players have fun with it. One game, no contact situation. It's good for their conditioning and keep their skills a little sharper and I think they'll have some fun with one another as well."

There will be four games every Wednesday — two for each league at 6:20/6:30 and 7:50 p.m — across seven weeks, with each team scheduled to play six regular-season games, one playoff game (Aug. 22) and the potential to advance to the championship game on Aug. 23. The games will be played at 4-on-4 with two 25-minute halves. Overtime will be played at 3-on-3 for five minutes, followed by a shootout if the score remains tied; playoff games will be played at 5-on-5, but overtime rules will remain the same.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on game days and the cost is $5 to attend, but for those not able to, all games will be broadcast and streamed live on the CPHL website as a way to keep up with the action.

Blackhawks convention attendees announced, including captain Jonathan Toews

Blackhawks convention attendees announced, including captain Jonathan Toews

It was a disappointing season to say the least for the Blackhawks this past year, as nine straight playoff appearances came to an end. But the Hawks and Hawks fans alike are beginning their countdown to a new season. And a big moment will come the last weekend of July.

The Blackhawks Twitter page announced all the attendees for their annual Blackhawks Convention; the list includes captain Jonathan Toews.

The convention is being held at the Hilton Chicago July 27-29, and it will not only include Toews but several current players, alumni, coaches and broadcasters.

The weekend will include numerous autograph and photo sessions, Q&A panels, exhibits, interactive games and much more.

Some current players attending are: Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith, Alex DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov.

The alumni list includes: Bryan Bickell, Adam Burish, Brian Campbell, Ben Eager, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Denis Savard and many others.

The legendary voices of the Blackhawks, TV play-by-play man Pat Foley and radio announcer John Wiedeman will also be in attendance.

The season is still a couple months away for the Blackhawks, whose home opener is Oct. 7 against Toronto. They start the campaign with two games on the road, with Ottawa first in line (Oct. 4), then the St. Louis Blues (Oct. 6).

O Captain! My Captain! Patrick Kane named USA captain for World Championship

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USA TODAY

O Captain! My Captain! Patrick Kane named USA captain for World Championship

The Blackhawks will not be participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, but several players will still be playing in May.

Monday, Patrick Kane confirmed that he will join Team USA for the 2018 IIHF World Championship. The games will take place in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, from May 4-20.

Kane, 29, will captain an American squad well-represented by the Blackhawks. Alex DeBrincat and Connor Murphy will also compete for Team USA, while Nick Schmaltz is contemplating whether or not to play.

Tomas Jurco (Slovakia) will also compete in the tournament.