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Blackhawks, city of Chicago announce new practice facility near United Center

The 125,000-square foot facility, which will have two NHL regulation-sized rinks, is expected to cost approximately $50 million. Construction will begin next year and should be completed within two years.

Courtesy of Chicago Blackhawks

The city of Chicago and the Blackhawks have reached an agreement on plans to build a new practice facility and community center just two blocks south of the United Center on the site of Malcolm X College, the team and mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday.

The facility will be privately funded and cost approximately $50 million.

Construction of the 125,000-square foot facility, which will have two NHL regulation-sized rinks, is expected to begin next year and should be completed within two years. The college will be moved across the street to its new campus in January 2016.

Johnny's IceHouse West has been the practice home of the Hawks since February 2010. The team's current contract with the facility runs through June 2017, which gives a general idea of when the move to the new building will occur.

"Hockey’s future is dictated by the ability of kids to get on the ice," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a release. "For those in urban areas like Chicago, that’s an incredible challenge. We want to provide our community the opportunity to learn how to skate and help them develop a love and passion for the sport that has brought so much joy to Chicago and the region these past few years."

The development of the practice facility will help Wirtz's bid to secure the 2018 World Junior Championships for Chicago. USA Hockey named the city among five finalists -- along with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa -- to host the prestigious tournament.