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Blackhawks Bits: Mayor Lightfoot ‘expects’ fans at UC before season ends; Reichel starts playoffs; OHL canceled

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The comments from the mayor came during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Sudbury Wolves v Niagara IceDogs
Isaak Phillips of the Sudbury Wolves (OHL) skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

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.

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:

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:

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:

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).