Champion Blackhawks coming to South Bend for training camp - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks coming to South Bend for training camp

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Just weeks after the Blackhawks paraded their way through Chicago, celebrating their 2013 Stanley Cup win, the team has announced they're bringing the celebration to Michiana.

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they will be starting their training camp practices at Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena.

The Stanley Cup Champions will spend the first four days of training camp, Sept 12-15, in South Bend before heading back to Chicago for the rest of their pre-season work-outs.

"We are thankful that Notre Dame is allowing us to host our camp at their new state-of-the-art, world-class facility," said Blackhawks VP/General Manager Stan Bowman, in a press release. "Opening camp on the road offers our players and coaching staff a unique team bonding atmosphere. We look forward to bringing Blackhawks hockey to our fans in Northwest Indiana."

Local businesses and Blackhawks fans say they're already counting down the days.

"We're really excited to see them come to Notre Dame," said Gail Waltman, a Blackhawks fan.

The Waltman family can hardly wait to see the Blackhawks skating on the ice at Notre Dame. They usually make a day trip to Chicago to watch training camp every year, but they say having their favorite team so close to home for four days in September will be really special.

"I just like it because when we went to charge it was a lot of fun you know with the players. This year with the cup and everything it's going to be a lot of fun to see," said Ryan Waltman.

The Waltman's won't be the only ones looking for seats to see the Stanley Cup Champs in South Bend.  The school says they expect it to be a packed house when the team is in town.

"We have a lot of good solid Blackhawks fans [locally]," said Mike McNeill, Compton Family Ice Arena. "We have a lot of hockey fans, so to have a team like this, coming off the year they had, it's going to be a lot of funs."

While Michiana Blackhawks fans will no doubt be in the arena to watch the team train, the folks with Visit South Bend expect the camp to bring in people from all over.

"You know anything like this, especially with really die hard fans, they're going to follow their team anywhere," said Lindsey Talboom, Visit South Bend/Mishawaka spokesperson.

All the foot traffic is exciting for businesses down the street from the arena like O'Rourke's Irish Pub. They were not originally expecting big crowds that weekend because the Irish Football team will be on the road playing Purdue. However, the bar says having the Blackhawks in town, definitely changes things.

"That's just another weekend almost like another home game weekend because you're going to have people," said Tracy Post, O'Rourke's Manager.

The Blackhawks currently only have a one-year training camp deal with Notre Dame. Both fans and the school hope that changes, because they want this to be an annual event.

"You know [the Blackhawks] are just down the road," said McNeill. "We feel that we have a great facility that can certainly handle anything that they will need for a training camp."

The complete training camp schedule will be released at a later date. The Blackhawks will continue their annual training camp festival in the United Center on Sept. 16 in Chicago.

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