With just a few weeks left in the regular season, hope emerged that fans may be inside the United Center for a Blackhawks game before it ends.
While speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said she “expects” fans to be inside the United Center before the season ends for both the Bulls and Blackhawks, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she expects fans to be allowed at the United Center for Bulls and Blackhawks games before the end this season, but the timeline will depend on how quickly COVID cases decrease following the latest surge. https://t.co/8QWSZiyXI8— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) April 20, 2021
The Blackhawks are now the only NHL team in the United States without plans to fans in the stands or already be admitting them. The Sharks — who began their season in Arizona — recently announced that fans would be attendance at the SAP Center beginning on April 26. Chicago has seven home games remaining this season.
In another positive sign for possible fan attendance at Blackhawks games this season, the IceHogs notified fans that they may be able to attend one of the IceHogs’ final three home games:
NEWS: The Rockford #IceHogs have notified season-ticket holders they will be able to attend one of the team's final three home games at the BMO Harris Bank Center in May.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) April 20, 2021
May 1 vs Grand Rapids
May 9 vs. Iowa Wild
May 14 vs. Chicago Wolves#Blackhawks #AHL
In prospect news, Lukas Reichel, Chicago’s first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2020 NHL draft, has been moved to first-line center for his DEL team Eisbaren Berlin as they begin a first-round series against the Iserlohn Roosters on Tuesday:
#Blackhawks prospect, Lukas Reichel is playing 1C today for Eisbären Berlin. Berlin is taking on Iserlohn in the first round of the #DEL playoffs. #EBB #HawksProspects #HockeyTwitter https://t.co/OE5mgzcv3t— Chicago Prospects (@Chi_Prospects) April 20, 2021
Eisbaren finished first in their division this season with 23 wins. Eisbaren also allowed the second fewest goals against after Adler Manheim (who came in first in the DEL in the regular season), which may be good news for Reichel’s defensive upside.
Meanwhile, the OHL has officially canceled their 2021 season. The OHL, one of the major Canadian junior leagues, was the lone CHL league not to begin their season for the 2020-21 year:
After months of trying to get on the ice for a shortened 2020-21 season, the Ontario Hockey League has officially canceled its season.@coreypronman explores how this impacts the 2021 NHL Draft ⤵️https://t.co/jB6E1kDtQU— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) April 20, 2021
The OHL is where players like Patrick Kane, Adam Boqvist and Alec Regula (all with the London Knights) and Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome (Erie Otters) began their careers. This cancellation means Isaak Phillips, who was supposed to play for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL this season, is likely done with his CHL career. Chad Yetman is the other Chicago prospect impacted by this cancellation, as Yetman was drafted out of Erie.
Top prospects for the 2021 draft impacted by this decision include Riley Stillman’s brother Chase (Sudbury), Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts) and Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes).