Chicago Blackhawks Partner with Kankakee for Little Blackhawks Hockey Program Revival


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KANKAKEE, Ill. — The Kankakee Valley Park District is excited to announce a collaboration between the Ice Valley Centre Ice Arena and the renowned Chicago Blackhawks, marking the triumphant return of the Little Blackhawks hockey program this coming September.

Hockey enthusiasts and newcomers alike will soon have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a program that transcends the realm of sports education. More than just a game, hockey instills values of responsibility, respect, and teamwork in young participants. 

Recognizing this, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players’ Association have jointly developed the Learn to Play initiative. This initiative offers families a gateway to the enriching world of youth hockey, fostering a holistic approach to character development.

Expertly curated in conjunction with USA Hockey and Hockey Canada, the Learn to Play initiative strives to set the standard for youth hockey programs. Geared towards families with children aged 4-9, this initiative delivers top-notch equipment, age-appropriate coaching, and certified guidance from NHL Alumni. All of this is encapsulated within a dynamic and safe atmosphere.

The crowning jewel of this initiative is the Little Blackhawks program at Ice Valley Centre Ice Arena, a six-week Learn to Play program that includes a weekly 45-minute on-ice instruction. Each young player will receive a full set of equipment, enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the experience as they venture into the world of youth hockey. This tailored program is exclusively designed for first-time players aged 4-9 by September 1, 2023.

Prospective participants are encouraged to register by September 4 via A nominal fee of $250 covers the entire program, with two convenient sessions available on Fridays: 5:30-6:15 pm and 6:30-7:15 pm, running from September 15 to October 20.

For further inquiries, Aaron Denton, Hockey Director for the Kankakee Valley Park District, can be reached at (815) 929-1885 or via email at


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