Community focus for Chicago Blackhawks’ $65m training rink

Community activities will account for more than 90 per cent of usage at the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team’s new $65m (£50m/€55m) training rink.

The 125,000-square-foot venue, to be named the MB Ice Arena, is set to open in November and will house two regulation size NHL rinks, as well as 22 team and public locker rooms, medical and rehab facilities, a public fitness training centre and a media centre. The MB Ice Arena will also be employed as a practice facility by visiting NHL teams.

However, 94 per cent of the facility’s use will be earmarked for local youth and adult hockey leagues.

“For the entire Chicago Blackhawks organisation, there is an unconditional commitment to give back to the community,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said.

“If we were going to build a rink for the team, why not build two and include the community. The Wirtz family and the Chicago Blackhawks organisation are proud of what this facility will mean to Chicago’s youth, and we are honoured to have our longstanding partner, MB Financial Bank, join us as the first of what we anticipate will be many other Chicago businesses to participate in this exciting endeavour and support the outstanding programs at this new facility.”

In addition, the facility will feature amenities such as a restaurant and coffee shop, a rooftop deck and additional space for public functions. It will include several classrooms that will host programmes for Chicago public school students on the importance of health, wellness, nutrition, physical fitness and STEM education.

“There are countless ways in which our vision and values are aligned, including the need to build strong and vibrant communities where we live and work,” said Mitch Feiger, chief executive and president of MB Financial, Inc.

“The Blackhawks commitment to going beyond just serving as a practice rink to become a multi-service facility for Chicago’s youth, was the biggest draw for our involvement. We are incredibly proud to partner with the Blackhawks on this gift to the City of Chicago.”