With a story as important locally as the Ice Hogs changing ownership, there is going to be a little confusion. We had one of the guys in charge clear things up for us.

Craig Thomas is the president of RAVE (Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority), the organization in charge of the BMO center. We thank him for his time today.

The Ice Hogs are officially up for sale and the likely purchaser will be the Chicago Blackhawks. They need to officially accept bigs for two weeks after announcing the proposal, but all signs point to the Ice Hogs NHL parent organization to being the next ones in charge.

This is the way most AHL organizations operate, with the NHL club being in charge of the minor league affiliates. Not many AHL teams, if any, are owned by the city they play in the Ice Hogs team formally was.

The Blackhawks have stated that they would like to be more prominently involved, and visible, within the Rockford organization. Would this also include a name change? They originally planned on calling the team the Rockford Blackhawks before they settled on the Ice Hogs. Craig said that it is way too early to comment on that but it would be something that would be addressed.

Another benefit of the Blackhawks taking over ownership of the IceHogs is that they said that $20 million would be invested into the BMO Center to remodel the 40-year-old building. Craig said that improvements would possibly include:

  • Box office renovation
  • New seating
  • New VIP areas
  • New scoreboard
  • Infrastructure upgrades

All in all it sounds like a win for Rockford on many fronts.

Thanks again to Craig Thomas for taking some time to clear things up with us today.

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