Issue or Non-Issue?

We’re talking about practice.

Since the Blackhawks held their rookie camp way back when Dale Tallon was still General Manager of the team, they have called Johnny’s Ice House their official practice facility.  That wasn’t the plan, of course.  Last March, it was announced the Blackhawks agreed to move their practice facility to four vacant parcels located just six blocks west of the United Center.  The Hawks would build their brand-spanking-new practice facility there, along with Johnny’s Ice House gaining another sheet of ice to use at their disposal.  They’d be all moved in by training camp, they were told.

Ah, my dear friends, this is the City of Chicago we’re talking about and nothing gets built here on a normal timetable.  Or maybe it’s because Stan suddenly has a little bit more on his plate.

Fast forward to the present and the Hawks are still using Johnny’s Ice House as their practice facility.  Of course, Johnny’s has absolutely zero amenities for the Hawks.  No workout facility, no private locker rooms, no coaches room, no trainer’s room. 

You know how the Hawks get to practice everyday?  They get dressed in the United Center locker rooms, hop in a bus, go the four blocks to Johnny’s in nearly full equipment, hit the ice, then when practice is over, they take a bus back to the United Center to change out of their equipment.

It makes the Edge in Bensenville seem like King Jafar’s Palace. 

I highly doubt you’ll ever hear any of the players complain about this.  The last thing anyone wants to hear is some millionaire athlete complaining about not getting his way.  At the same time, though, I can’t help but think this is starting to become quite the nuisance for some players on the team.    

But we shouldn’t forget about the people who probably hate the fact that the Hawks don’t have their own practice facility more than anyone else….the equipment managers.  Not only do they have to pack up all the multiple sticks and gloves players cycle through, they have to bring it all back to the United Center when practice is over.  Then they do it all again the next day.  It’s almost like they’ve been on the road since the season started.

In case you were wondering, the new timetable for when Johnny’s West will open is by early January 2010.  That’s assuming the City of Chicago approves all the inspections, which actually means that Rocky Wirtz will be signing off on a few more checks this month.

Or maybe this really isn’t an issue and Allen Iverson was right all along.

*On the Farm*

–Byron Froese scored on the power play and had an assist in Everett’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Portland Winterhawks.

Kyle Beach was scoreless in Spokane’s 3-0 win over the Prince George Cougars.

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9 Responses to Issue or Non-Issue?

  1. Patrick says:

    Silly – but if the Bulls are out of town (and they should be for the whole season, with the way they’re playing), why don’t they practice at the UC?

  2. John says:

    When they can, they do, but with the Bulls and Hawks at home usually the same times, the schedules overlap too much for them to use it as their normal practice facility.

  3. JM says:

    I forgot about this since its been a while. But really, who were we kidding?

    It takes a year to rebuild some stairs and a platform for the CTA, did we honestly think they would erect an NHL regulation rink, on a site requiring extensive environmental work, in 6 months?

    I’ll be impressed if it opens by January.

  4. John says:

    Rocky Wirtz should run for mayor if it gets built by then. The only reason it’s as close to opening as it is, is because he started cracking some skulls.

    If it is opened by January, it’s not going to look like a five-star resort.

  5. Dr. Ice says:

    I don’t think it’s actually the Blackhawks are “in charge” of this. Isn’t it going to be a sister facility to the existing Johnny’s?

  6. John says:

    Yeah, it’s supposed to be a sister facility to Johnny’s. The Hawks and the owners of Johnny’s are working in conjunction with the city to get this thing operating. They’re not in charge of getting it built per se, but it certainly wasn’t the city’s or Johnny’s owners decision for them to flee the Edge as quickly as they did.

    Hawks brass definitely should’ve known what the actual timetable was. You didn’t have to be Frank Lloyd Wright to realize that the facility was nowhere close to being built in September like they expected it to be.

  7. John says:

    Dr. Ice, I see where I made it confusing in the post. I made a mistake, the Hawks didn’t purchase the land. Fixed.

  8. Dr. Ice says:

    Thanks, John, that is a bit clearer.

    I say non-issue for one big reason. I remember hearing that, with maybe one or two exceptions, all of the Blackhawks live downtown (makes sense, as young as most of them are). I think the hassle of dressing at the United Center, driving to Johnny’s, and driving back after practice for workouts, is far less than the hassle of driving to Bensenville from the city on a daily basis.

  9. John says:

    Yeah, I would tend to agree with you. IMO, the people who this inconveniences the most are the equipment managers and no one really cares what they think anyways.

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