A proposed affiliation agreement that will extend the Rockford IceHogs affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks will soon be a done deal.
Friday morning RAVE (Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment) Authority members voted unanimously for chairman Craig Thomas to “execute the proposed agreement to extend our relationship with the Chicago Blackhawks.” Those were the words of RAVE Executive Director Troy Flynn in an email to Eyewitness News.
Thomas will go to Chicago where the deal will be signed. An official announcement and press conference are expected next week.
RAVE and the Blackhawks first entered into a ten-year affiliation agreement in 2007 when the IceHogs joined the American Hockey League. That deal will expire after the 2016-17 season.
In the nine years since the first agreement attendance has grown steadily at IceHogs games. Last season the team drew an average of 5,013 fans to its home games at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Dozens of players have moved on from the IceHogs to the NHL…several of them contributing to the Blackhawks three Stanley Cup Championship teams since 2010.