CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Blackhawks have broken ground on a massive new practice facility and youth hockey training center two blocks south of the United Center.

The 127,000-square-foot facility is a huge win for the Near West Side, adding to a growing number of corporations building in the area.

The $50-million building will serve as the Blackhawks’ primary practice rink and a community training center for youth hockey programs. The project is being funded entirely with private funds.

It is being built on a lot that used to house Malcolm X College, on Jackson Boulevard, between Damen and Ogden avenues. A new Malcolm X College campus was completed earlier this year across the street from the old one.

The Blackhawks said they will use the new practice rink to offer underprivileged youth free skating lessons and the use of new hockey equipment. The facility also will be available to adult hockey leagues and open skating when it’s not being used by the Blackhawks.

“Every one of these great hockey players for the Blackhawks had to start somewhere” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said. “We hope this facility, when completed, will bring children, who otherwise would never have a chance, to be able to participate in this great sport.”

Some Chicago children who plan to use the facility were at the groundbreaking Wednesday morning.

“I’ve learned how to skate better. I am happy that I’m doing sports, because I used to not be into sports, and that helps me and my fitness,” said Yasmine Tarr, who is learning to play hockey at Hockey On Your Block.

The new Blackhawks Community Training Center will open in December 2017.

(Source: Chicago Blackhawks)

(Source: Chicago Blackhawks)