Indy Fuel sign 5-year farm pact with Chicago Blackhawks

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indy Fuel, the city’s new minor league professional hockey team, on Tuesday  announced it has signed a five-year affiliation agreement with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.

Given the fan following for the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in central Indiana, the agreement stands to be a significant boost for the Fuel, who begin play in October at the renovated Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

“We are honored to be joining the Blackhawks family, a truly first-class organization with which we share a common philosophy of the game, direction for the team and mutual commitment to our communities,” said Indy Fuel President Sean Hallett in a prepared statement. “Chicago already has a strong fan base in Indianapolis, and the Blackhawks are a winning organization with a strong emphasis on the development of up-and-coming young talent.”

Blackhawks officials said they were enthusiastic about strengthening the team's player-development system and maintaining a presence in the ECHL (formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League), the premier "AA" league serving as a pipeline to the NHL. The Blackhawks will complete a five-year affiliation with the Toledo Walleye at the completion of the 2013-14 ECHL season.

“We are excited to begin this new partnership with the Indy Fuel,” said Mark Bernard, Blackhawks general manager of minor league affiliations, in a statement. “The Blackhawks and the city of Indianapolis have a history of developing many players that have had successful National Hockey League careers, and we look forward to doing the same with the Fuel and our deep group of talented prospects.”

The ECHL is one of two minor leagues for the National Hockey League. Based in Princeton, N.J., the 26-year-old league has more than 20 teams in cities across the United States, including Fort Wayne, Evansville, Cincinnati, Toledo and Kalamazoo.

This won't be the first time the Blackhawks are affiliated with an Indianapolis franchise. The Indianapolis Ice were the Blackhawks' main affiliate from 1989 to 1998. The Ice played in the International Hockey League from 1988 to 1999 and in the Central Hockey League from 1999 to 2004.

The Blackhawks share another historic tie to Indianapolis. Former Blackhawks owner Arthur Wirtz was president of the Indianapolis Coliseum Corp., which built the coliseum in 1939, and has been called the "father of Indianapolis hockey."

Wirtz's grandson, Rocky, now owns the Blackhawks.




  • Buzz Kill
    Nice. I'll take committed enthusiastic ownership of an ECHL franchise over anything that's been in Indy before, mate. This is a big deal for Indy Hockey, been a fan not an elitist (jealous owner of an amateur team that really couldn't make it?) jerk.
  • So disappointing
    As a Red Wings fan I was hoping for anyone but the Blackhawks. Sigh. I guess I will have to plug my nose and still go to the games. However, to annoy those Hawks fans I will be wearing my Red Wings jersey with pride.
  • ECHL
    Before everyone gets too carried away, an ECHL affiliate only gets 3-4 players from the NHL because of NHL roster limits. The rest of the roster will be free agents not tied to the NHL. Only one member of the Blackhawks has played in the ECHL, Sheldon Brookbank, their 6th defenseman. That's who you should expect to see. The top prospects go straight from junior and college to the NHL or AHL.
    • Comcast is Evil
      The refusal of Comcast to carry Comcast SportNet Chicago AT ANY COST is the main reason I dumped them for AT&T. Their reasoning? "No one watches it." True statement for any channel they won't carry. Duh.
    • Get DirecTV
      DirecTV carries both the Blues and Blackhawks games as our local NHL teams.
    • a winning tradition is contagious
      What a deal for the Hawks, the Fuel and the City of Indianapolis ... I can see the future draft picks lining up ... Wowzer!!!!
      • Fox Sports Midwest
        Let's Go Blues!
      • Televise the games!
        This is great news, but makes it even more mind-boggling that Bright House and Comcast do not carry Blackhawks games in the Indianapolis market! CSN-Chicago, add it to your darn lineups!!! We get Fox Sports Cincinnati and St. Louis instead
        • Welcome back to the Pros
          Looking forward to revisiting the rivalry with my hometown FW Komets!

        Post a comment to this story

        We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
        You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
        Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
        No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
        We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

        Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

        Sponsored by

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
        Subscribe to IBJ
        1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

        2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

        3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

        4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

        5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).