May 15, 2017 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Chicago Steel
GENEVA, ILLINOIS - The Chicago Steel announced Monday that revered Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer Jim Cornelison will return to Fox Valley Ice Arena this Friday, April 19 to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to Game 3 of the 2017 USHL Clark Cup Final between the Steel and the Sioux City Musketeers. Friday will mark the first time the Steel have hosted a Clark Cup Final game.
The Steel, the 2016-2017 USHL Eastern Conference Champions, are currently tied, 1-1, in the best-of-five championship series with the Western Conference Champion Sioux City Musketeers. Doors open at 6 p.m. on Friday, with Cornelison's performance taking place just prior to a 7:05 p.m. puck drop. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive a Chicago Steel Clark Cup Final rally towel. Tickets start at just $10 when purchased in advance and parking is always free for Steel games.
"We can't think of a better way to energize our crowd and celebrate our first Clark Cup Final home game than to have Jim perform the Star-Spangled Banner," said Steel President Dan Lehv. "The buzz around this team's first run to a Clark Cup Final has been electric and this adds to the excitement and anticipation for this weekend's games."
Game 3 of the Clark Cup Final will mark the third time the award-winning Cornelison has performed the national anthem at a Steel game in Geneva after appearing at the team's Chicago Blackhawks Night each of the past two seasons. The baritone-turned-tenor regularly performs the national anthem at the United Center, pumping up the crowd at the start of Blackhawks home games. He first sang for the Blackhawks in 1996, making part-time appearances before joining the team on a full-time basis in 2007. Cornelison will also perform later this month at the Indianapolis 500.
"We want to thank the Chicago Blackhawks for the opportunity to bring Jim to Geneva for this special night," said Lehv. "It's been wonderful to receive the support of the entire Chicago hockey community during this unprecedented playoff run for our organization."
Each Illinois youth hockey player, along with an accompanying adult, can receive a complimentary ticket to Friday's Game 3, or Game 4 the following night, as part of the Steel's "Our Gift To Hockey" offer announced last week. Since the Steel are competing in the USHL's Clark Cup Final for the first time ever, the team is celebrating this historic achievement by inviting with the next generation of junior hockey stars. Youth hockey players may visit chicagosteelhockeyteam.sportngin.com/register/form/976761936 to request their complimentary tickets to their choice of game.
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), entering the playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago defeated the Youngstown Phantoms, three games to two, in the conference semifinals, before knocking off the defending Eastern Conference Champions, the Dubuque Fighting Saints, three games to one, to secure an opportunity to play for the first Clark Cup in team history.
This past weekend at Sioux City, the Steel fell Friday in Game 1, 5-4 in overtime, before soaring to a 5-1 win in Game 2 Saturday to even the series. The winner of Friday's Game 3 in Geneva will have a chance to lift the Clark Cup in Game 4, also at Fox Valley Ice Arena, on Saturday, May 20. If a Game 5 is needed, the series will shift back to Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 23 at 7:05 p.m.
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. This Clark Cup Final series features two players already drafted by NHL teams: Chicago goaltender Ale=9A Stezka (2015, Minnesota Wild) and Sioux City center Aapeli Räsänen (2016, Edmonton Oilers). Additionally, a handful of players in the series have been ranked as top prospects for next month's NHL Draft at the United Center. That list includes Chicago defenseman Ben Mirageas (ranked 63rd among North American skaters), as well as projected first-round pick Eeli Tolvanen, a left wing for the Musketeers.
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.