Several years ago, I was covered the (now defunct) Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League. Midway through the 2013 season, the organization seemed to be in turmoil. The league eventually took over the team and the remainder of their home games were played in the BMO Harris Arena in Rockford.
While at a game, I met Mike Peck, then the Media Relations Manager for the Rockford IceHogs. We talked about my writing and the writing outlets and I started covering the IceHogs for the 2013-14 season. It's been four great years and I am back on the beat with the IceHogs again for the 2017-18 season.
There is a lot to like about the IceHogs starting with the fact that they are the top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. I am fond of saying that the IceHogs of today are the Blackhawks of tomorrow. It's obviously (and naturally) true. Most of the current Blackhawks (and most of the three Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks) spent time with the IceHogs.
Rockford is an easy 75 minute drive from my home. Granted the Chicago Wolves would be much closer, but honestly, at the time, they did not recognize internet as true media. I don't know what their current policy is, but I wouldn't trade the IceHogs for the Wolves anyway. No disrespect to the Wolves, but I have enjoyed my time with Rockford too much.
The city of Rockford is also a plus. I think it is underrated. It has problems like any other city, but they are working hard to revitalize the downtown area. I have discovered several great restaurants in the area. I have also stayed overnight at about a dozen or so of their hotels right off of I90.
I'm happy to be back covering the IceHogs. I really think they have a very exciting team this season. They have a new, young coach in Jeremy Colliton and I see good things in him and his style. I would not be surprised if he eventually is the next coach with the Blackhawks.
I will occasionally be reporting back here, but you can also find my coverage of the Icehogs on PuckPlanet.com and Patch.com. If you happen to go to a game (highly encouraged), look up in the Pressbox and you might just see me.