Rockford businesses hope potential IceHogs-Blackhawks deal will help make up for revenue lost during pandemic

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Chicago Blackhawks’ desire to buy the Rockford IceHogs could result in an economic boom, and local businesses say they hope the move makes up for lost revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deal would could include up to $20 million worth of improvements to the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Reed Sjostrom owns Owly Oop Sports Pub, at 305 S Madison St. He says he’s already thinking about ways to encourage people to visit his bar on gameday.

“It’s always exciting to have a winning team here and I can only imagine that the IceHogs are going to be winning a lot with the support of the Blackhawks,” he said. “We’d love to do some kind of team-ups with them and be able to offer some great incentives for them to win and then for everyone in the stands to win, too.”

David Boge is one of the owners of District Bar and Grill, at 205 W State St.

“The investment over here of $20 million, the investment over here of the apartments, right? That’s another $22 million. So, we’re sitting smack dab in the middle of $40 million that’s being invested right here. So it’s very exciting,” he said.

Doge says that money is helping to build a better future for downtown Rockford.

“The downtown is definitely being reinvigorated by the Chicago Blackhawks, so it’s pretty exciting! So, we’ll be super stoked once we get actual fans back in the seats but it’s a good thing, it’s a great thing,” he said.

Those involved with the negotiations say the renovations to the BMO will not include direct taxes on City residents.

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