CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks broke ground today on their new Community Training Center in the 1800 block of West Jackson Boulevard.
Blackhawks management says this team is proud to be West Siders, so they are investing in a training center to serve not only the players, but also the neighbors living near Malcolm X College.
The 125,000 square foot center will soon become the Blackhawks' new practice facility, as well as a site for youth hockey development programs and recreational leagues.
The 4-acre site on Jackson is two blocks south of the United Center. The project's expected cost is $50 million.
Among those on hand for today's groundbreaking were Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, team President and CEO John McDonough, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The new facility will work in partnership with the Chicago Park District to provide open skate time, skate rentals, and leagues for all levels of play.
According to USA Hockey, Illinois ranks fifth nationally in the number of registered players -- more than 30,000 -- and has seen a 37.5 percent increase since the 2007-2008 season.
The success of the Blackhawks undoubtedly has something to do with that interest.
The center is expected to open in December 2017.