IceHogs Get New Owners, Team To Stay, BMO Gets Upgrades
As hard as we tried this morning, we just couldn't find many (if any) negatives to yesterday's announcement that the Chicago Blackhawks are going to purchase the Rockford IceHogs for $11.8 million from the City of Rockford.
There's a lot to like when you hear things like 250 construction jobs will be created, while hundreds of jobs already in existence at the BMO Harris Bank Center will be retained. Tack on little things like $23 million in renovation and refurbishment to the arena itself, and the fact that the IceHogs will stay right here in Rockford for at least the next 15 years, and you've got the ingredients for a feel-good story.
“It’s going to be a phenomenal experience to come here as a fan,” said RAVE board Chairman Craig Thomas. Leaders said this is a significant investment for the community, potentially bringing in $382 million in economic activity for the state and region.
The Rockford IceHogs' Director of Business Operations, Mike Peck, joined the WROK Morning Show on Thursday morning to give us his take on Wednesday's news, and Mike seemed genuinely excited about what new ownership by the Chicago Blackhawks will mean for the team. Mike told us "They've always been there to help us, and now they're jumping into business operations, which helps us even more. We'll have more resources at our disposal, and I really think the long-term viability of the IceHogs is really strong with this move."
If there's any real question still remaining, it's probably got to be a potential name-change for the team. We're not saying there will be a change, but it has happened with other franchises before when the big league team wants their highest-ranking minor league affiliate to carry the same name as the top-level team does. We would have been remiss in our duties if we didn't, as two guys who love the name IceHogs, ask Mike Peck about the potential for a change. Mike says he doesn't know and can't say if there'll be a change, but like Joe Dredge and me, he loves the name, too. He told us:
I'm hoping we'll stay the same, because I love the name and I love the logo. We've never changed that logo since 1999, and there's something to be said for consistency."