Chicago Wolves Celebrate 25 Years In International Hockey League

Wendell Young Looks Back On Years With Wolves, Why He Never Left

Rick Gregg
August 13, 2018 - 9:19 am

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It started with a misunderstanding.

"[Grant Mulvey> heard that there was an IHL fr​anchise going in into Indiana," said Don Levin, the co-founder and owner of the Chicago Wolves.  "He went to check, and found out it wasn't true, and then asked the next logical question.  'Would you put one in Chicago?'"

The International Hockey League said yes, and this fall the Chicago Wolves will mark their 25th year in business.​  Levin and partner Buddy Meyers wanted a more genial experience than the Blackhawks offered in the 90's as Chicago Stadium became the United Center.

"It lost the feeling of fans watching the sport.  It became a place to go.  And we said, 'gee, we really miss this.'"

The Wolves got a boost from putting their games on television, and even from the NHL lockout of 1994, which brought players like goalie Wendell Young to the franchise.

"I realized how great a city Chicago was and how great an organization this was," Young said.  "I got treated better here than in the NHL."

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Young never left - he's been the team's general manager for the past decade.  And besides the four IHL or AHL championships the franchise has won, Young and the rest of the Wolves brass are most proud of the 'family' atmosphere they believe they have created.

"I ask kids that come to games, 'Hey, did we win?'  And they go, 'We're not sure!' Because they had such a fun time."

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

The Wolves are celebrating their 25th anniversary with an installation of 15 nine-foot-tall hockey masks along Michigan Avenue. Six of which can be seen in Pioneer Court. They'll be in place until September.  And the franchise is offering free parking for all home games this season as a 'gift' to fans.  Single-game tickets go on sale Aug. 24.