Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicago Express is on track for winning season

The Express celebrates one of their first goals of the season on home ice 10/22/11

The ECHL's newest team, the Chicago Express (Blue Jackets affiliate), is off to an impressive start (6-3-0-0) -- not bad for a team that just started practicing together about a month ago. They are coming off Wednesday night's 7-4 win vs. the Toledo Walleye (Blackhawks/Red Wings affiliate) and will be playing at home this Friday night against the Cincinnati Cyclones (Predators/Panthers affiliate), whom they are currently 2-0-0-0 against.

For those who haven't yet experienced an Express game, the team plays in the northwestern Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates. The Sears Centre Arena is one of the newest buildings in the ECHL, having opened in 2006 as a multi-use facility, and the team is currently only selling the lower bowl tickets. As a result, the local fans are enjoying a top-of-the-line home game experience.

Inaugural home game - pregame ceremony 10/22/11

The inaugural home game was a lot of fun for fans: the building was full; the Express won 4-2 against the Kalamazoo Wings (Canucks/Devils affiliate). As part of the Opening Night festivities, the team donned tuxedo-design warmup jerseys prior to the game. (As we've discussed here at HockeyBroad many times before, fun special-edition jerseys are an integral part of the ECHL hockey experience.)

If you missed that game, here is video of the opening ceremonies including player introductions and the anthem:

As is typical with ECHL teams, the Express play the bulk of their games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so combined with lower ticket prices, this makes ECHL hockey very appealing. The Express also offer Friday night $1 beer/$1 hot dog specials, which means with ticket prices starting at just $9, it's cheaper to go see a hockey game than a movie. For Sunday home games, bring your skates, as the team hosts a free, post-game public skate time.

This Friday night, in addition to the usual Friday special, the team will be celebrating Veterans' Day with $11.11 pricing for all club/side seating purchased at least 24 hrs prior to the game.

It doesn't matter where your NHL affections lie, either - as is typical at ECHL games across the league, fans represent a wide variety of teams, be it NHL, AHL, international or other in their choice of jerseys at the games. However, fan response to the Express has been terrific, and there are plenty of fans already sporting Express jerseys and T-shirts in the audience.

Check out the Express - you'll have a lot of fun at the games.


ECHL alignmentECHL North division / Eastern conference
Current team record6-3-0-0 (2nd in North division)
NHL affiliationColumbus Blue Jackets (2-11-1)
AHL affiliationSpringfield Falcons (6-6-0-0)
Broadcast infoCan watch online, or via radio/audio through the team website

Sears Centre Arena
5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL

Parking fee for hockey games: $10
Seating capacity for hockey: 9,400
Food services at SCA provided by Levy Food Service
Ticket pricesStart at $7 for kids/seniors; $9 adult; up to $26 on the glass
Season tickets start at $5/game

Special club/side ticket pricing for 11/11 game - seats $11.11 if purchased at least 24 hrs in advance

Box office (888) 732-7784 or (224) 220-1333
Sunday special eventsAfter Sunday matinee games, fans are invited to skate with the team on the SCA ice (limited skate rentals available; fans are encouraged to bring their own)
Friday home games$1 beers & $1 hot dogs

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