It was the dawn of the Next Ice Age. After 65 years in the historic Chicago Stadium, the Blackhawks moved across Madison Street for the 1994-95 season and into their new home - the United Center.
The Blackhawks' first season in the United Center was certainly a memorable one. Chicago hosted Edmonton on January 25, 1995 in the United Center's inaugural NHL game. Blackhawk forward Joe Murphy scored the first goal in United Center history as the Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 5-1 in the historic game.
The United Center, which has a capacity of 20,500 for hockey (almost 3,000 more than the Stadium) was filled to the rafters almost every time the Hawks took the ice. The Blackhawks set an NHL record by averaging 20,833 fans during the 1994-95 season -- becoming the first team in NHL history to record an average of 20,000+ fans for one season.
During the second season of action at the UC, the Blackhawks set another NHL attendance record, becoming the first team in league history to average 20,000+ fans for an entire 41-game regular season. Chicago averaged 20,415 fans per game as 837,021 fans came to watch their Blackhawks.
The United Center features the ultimate in fan entertainment and comfort. Some of the new amenities include: an eight sided video replay scoreboard, theatre-style seats, 210 luxurious suites, over 3,000 Club seats, 46 permanent concession stands and 194 points of sale, a cocktail lounge, private banquet facilities, interactive concourse displays, TV monitors throughout the building, Fandemonium (a Blackhawks and Bulls souvenir store) and four other merchandise stands.
Fan convenience and accessibility are key features at the United Center. There are eight escalators and extra wide concourses for better mobility. Cash stations, along with coat and parcel check areas, are available on every level. There are 48 restrooms and an increased capacity for women's restrooms. Seating is unobstructed throughout the arena.
The United Center is a 960,000 square foot multi-use facility that was officially opened on August 18, 1994 after a ribbon cutting ceremony. The UC accommodates 19,700 for hockey, 21,500 for basketball, and up to 23,500 for concerts and other entertainment. The United Center was also home to the 1996 Democratic National Convention.
Located between Madison and Monroe Streets, the United Center can be found on the city's near west side. And while no building can recreate the atmosphere of the historic Chicago Stadium or the events that took place there, the United Center has already provided many special moments that are sure to grow in the hearts of Blackhawk fans.
In addition to being the home of Chicago Blackhawk hockey, the United Center is one of the best venues around for sporting and musical events.