CHICAGO – For the past six months, the franchise has enjoyed the spoils that come with being the champion of a league for the first time.

Now the time has come to fight for that honor again, and make some WNBA history.

The Chicago Sky will begin their quest for a repeat league championship on Friday night as they open up the regular season at Wintrust Arena. The Sparks are the opponent for their first of 36 games in 2022, and it’s very fitting that the case.

Not since the Los Angeles teams of 2001 and 2002 has the WNBA had a team repeat as a champion and only two teams have been able to achieve the feat. The Houston Comets, who folded in 2008, won the league’s first four titles.

In the realm of Chicago professional sports, the Sky have the chance to become the third team to win consecutive championships. The Bulls won three straight twice, from 1991-1993 and 1996-1998 while the Cubs won back-to-back championships in 1907 and 1908.

The Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch won league championships in 2015 and 2016 before the league and franchise folded in 2021.

For the 2022 season, the Sky return a number of the key contributors to the championship last fall, including six-time WNBA All-Star Candace Parker, who will play in her 15 WNBA season. Veteran guards Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot decided to return for another year, though a knee issue will keep Quigley out of the opener against the Sparks.

Kahleah Copper also returns after her breakout 2021 WNBA playoffs where she won the Finals Most Valuable player award. She continues to play in Europe with Spanish club CB Perfumerias Avenida, where she was named the EuroLeague MVP and will join the Sky later this month.

2015 WNBA All-Star and 2019 league champion forward Emma Meesseman also joins the team this year after a long run with Washington Mystics.

Winning back-to-back championships has been a challenge for teams in the league for two decades, but it’s one the Sky now have in front of them starting on Friday.