ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Chicago Blackhawks will soon be the new owners of the Rockford IceHogs AHL franchise. Wednesday morning board members of the IceHogs current ownership group Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority (RAVE) voted unanimously to sell the team to the Blackhawks. (RAVE has a partnership with the city of Rockford to oversee the BMO Harris Bank Center and the Coronado Theatre).
The Blackhawks have agreed to pay RAVE $11.8 million over the next nine years to buy the team. The Blackhawks have also agreed to a 15-year lease agreement with RAVE for the team to continue to play games at the BMO Harris Bank Center in downtown Rockford.
As part the deal RAVE has agreed to make $23 million in improvements to the arena to bring it up to standards and to satisfy the Blackhawks’ needs. Governor J.B. Pritzker was in Rockford Wednesday morning to announce $13 million dollars have been allocated from the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan for improvements.
Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz were also in Rockford Wednesday morning. I interviewed both of them to learn more about how the Blackhawks’ ownership will impact the franchise. To view those interviews click on the media player.