Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Blackhawks today celebrated the official opening of the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Rink at Kennedy Park in Chicago's Morgan Park neighborhood. The new 80' x 175' rink features a SportCourt surface for both street and roller hockey use, creating accessibility across multiple seasons.
"The Blackhawks organization believes in investing in our community and growing the game of hockey," said Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough. "This rink at Kennedy Park brings easier access to the sport for surrounding residents, especially local youth who have yet to have the opportunity to play."
"Investments like the Blackhawks Hockey Rink will not only provide a space for people to be active; for some, this will become a gateway to a brighter future," said Mayor Emanuel. "This new rink will contribute to the growth of hockey as a marquee sport in the city, and can help our student athletes increase their chances at obtaining college athletic scholarships."
The rink, located at 11320 S. Western Avenue, will serve as a public park amenity and will be programmed by the Chicago Park District. While the Chicago Blackhawks may hold occasional clinics and camps at the rink, its primary purpose is for residents to use at their own discretion.
"We are grateful to have the support of public and private stakeholders who are committed to expanding recreation opportunities in Chicago's parks," said Chicago Park District Superintendent & CEO Michael P. Kelly. "The new rink at Kennedy Park will provide the community with a world-class amenity, and encourage participation in hockey across many seasons."
"The new rink at Kennedy Park will provide a place for our athletes to practice and compete, and for new players to learn and develop hockey skills," said Alderman Matthew O'Shea, 19th Ward. "I look forward to this becoming a community anchor for recreation and leisure, and want to thank the Blackhawks for investing in the Morgan Park neighborhood."
This is the first rink funded by the Blackhawks through the National Hockey League's Industry Growth Fund (IGF) as part of an initiative to further develop youth hockey. The Blackhawks will continue to work with the Chicago Park District to find suitable locations to build more rinks in the future.
Next month, the Chicago Blackhawks will also open the MB Ice Arena -- Chicago Blackhawks Community Rink, a new 125,000 square-foot community rink located two blocks south of the United Center at 1801 W. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago. In addition to serving as the practice home for the Blackhawks and visiting National Hockey League teams, approximately 94 percent of the privately funded, $65 million facility's use will be for the community, youth and adult hockey leagues.
MB Ice Arena -- Chicago Blackhawks Community Rink is part of broad investments on the Near West Side, including a new academic campus for Rush University Medical Center. The repurposed site at the old Malcolm X College will now be home to a $500 million academic campus at 301-339 S. Damen Ave. with four mixed-use buildings containing 1.4 million square feet of classrooms, offices, health clinics, retail space and 300 dormitory rooms.
For more information about Blackhawks' youth hockey programs, please visit chicagoblackhawks.com/community/youth-hockey. Additional information about Kennedy Park can also be found here: chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Kennedy-Park/.