For hockey fans, it feels like Christmas.
The 2014-15 NHL season is about to begin, and the Chicago Blackhawks are once again at the top of everyone's list of favorites to bring home the Stanley Cup.
Chicago made the biggest news of the summer when they signed the two faces of their franchise, Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews, to long-term contract extensions. Locking up two of the team's superstars promises to keep the Hawks in the mix for a championship for the next decade.
Also returning to the ice at the United Center this season will be defenseman Duncan Keith, who won his second Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman last year. Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya make up one of the best groups of defensemen in the league.
Up front, Hawks fans will once again have the pleasure of watching Toews and Kane skating with the likes of Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Marcus Kruger. Brad Richards, who led the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final last season, joins the team as another solid veteran center.
In net, Corey Crawford will once again see the bulk of the action with Antti Raanta providing relief.
The team on the ice is the centerpiece, but hockey is a city-wide event in Chicago.
Thrillist recently published a great list of 11 bars that provide a shuttle service to and from the United Center for Blackhawks home games.
You can also find out more about local appearances and see highlights at the Blackhawks website, Blackhawks.NHL.com.
For a great look back at the Blackhawks incredible history, grab a copy of the new edition of 100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.
To buy tickets to Blackhawks home games, visit their Ticketmaster site.