GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel are competing in USHL’s Clark Cup Final for the first time ever and the team plans to celebrate this historic achievement with the next generation of junior hockey stars. The Steel have introduced “Our Gift To Hockey”, offering one (1) complimentary ticket for each Illinois youth hockey player and one (1) accompanying adult to either Game 3 or Game 4 of the Clark Cup Final at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Ill.
The Steel will host Game 3 and Game 4 of the best-of-five Clark Cup Final on Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 against the Sioux City Musketeers.
Youth hockey players may visit chicagosteelhockeyteam.sportngin.com/register/form/976761936 to request their complimentary tickets to their choice of game. Each player will be asked to enter a USA Hockey number to receive the complimentary ticket(s) and additional tickets are available for purchase. Quantities are limited and tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis, so players are encouraged to fill out their request as soon as possible.
“We wanted to do something special to mark our first appearance in the Clark Cup Final,” said Steel President Dan Lehv. “It’s our way of celebrating hockey throughout Chicagoland by inviting the next generation of hockey players to witness the highest level of junior hockey on our league’s biggest stage.”
Since relocating to the Fox Valley in 2015, the Steel have developed meaningful partnerships with many local youth hockey associations. 22 teams from organizations in the Central States Developmental Hockey League (CDSHL), Amateur Hockey Association Illinois (AHAI), and Northern Illinois Hockey League (NIHL) have joined the Steel on the ice this season as part of the Chicago Steel Youth Hockey Experience, skating pre-game and during intermission, as well as joining Steel players on the blue line for the National Anthem. Steel players and coaches have hosted on-ice clinics for youth players, and team members have volunteered at youth practices and games.
“This gift is also about saying thank you to the many youth hockey teams and associations that have partnered with us over the last two years since we moved to the Fox Valley and the last 17 years that the Steel have been in existence,” said Lehv. “This will help strengthen our ties to the players, coaches, parents and volunteers in the youth hockey community and hopefully develop lifelong Chicago Steel fans.”
Steel defenseman Graham Lillibridge, who is currently second among all USHL defensemen in playoff scoring, is a prime example of a local player developing his game from Illinois youth hockey to the USHL and beyond. Lillibridge, a Geneva native, played youth hockey for the Cyclones, and is a six-time Illinois State Champion, including five titles with the Chicago Mission, and one with Team Illinois. Lillibridge was recently awarded USHL Scholar-Athlete and All-Academic Team honors, and following his Steel tenure, will play NCAA Division I hockey as a student-athlete at Yale University.
The Steel captured their first Eastern Conference Championship with a 3-1 series win over the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the Eastern Conference Final securing an opportunity to play for the first Clark Cup in team history. Games 1 and 2 of the Clark Cup Final took place this past weekend at Sioux City, with the Steel falling in overtime Friday before winning Game 2, 5-1, on Saturday to even the series at one game apiece.
Following new team all-time records in wins (38) and points (81), the Steel earned their first visit to the Clark Cup Playoffs in nine seasons (2007-2008), and clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago defeated the Youngstown Phantoms in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, three games to two, before defeating Dubuque.
Steel games offer a variety of family-friendly promotions, including contests on and off the ice like Slingshot Bowling, the Rusty Dance Party, Egg Russian Roulette, and Musical Tires. Additionally, Steel players regularly volunteer in the local community, including teaching character development with the Live Strong As Steel program at elementary schools, as well as the Read With Rusty program at local libraries and schools. Tickets start at just $10 when purchased in advance and parking is always free for Steel games.
As the nation’s only Tier I Junior League, the USHL represents a key step in the ladder of development. Over 95 percent of USHL players receive an opportunity to play Division I college hockey.
All Steel games are broadcast live on HockeyTV (video) and mixlr.com/chicago-steel (free audio). For tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.