DePaul to Welcome Old Foes in Kicking Off Wintrust Arena at McCormick Place

The 10,000 seat arena is the Blue Demons’ first relocation since moving to the one-time named Rosemont Horizon (later named Allstate Arena) in 1980

According to the Chicago Tribune this past Thursday (May 18), the DePaul Blue Demons have announced their first set of opponents for Dave Leitao and the men and the nationally ranked women’s squad led by longtime Head Coach Doug Bruno.

The men will welcome old-time foes in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Veteran’s Day, November 11–while the women will host UConn on Friday, December 8 as the Lady Huskies look to be starting their attempt to possibly win 111 straight games in the future.

My best tip for those fans traveling on Lake Shore Drive during that time of year, please pay close attention to the weather forecasts by using either Accuweather, weather.com, or with a proper weather radio or smartphone app tuned to the NOAA Weather station for Chicago.

The arena will be housed in a portion of the new section of McCormick Place, which is the exposition hall where the popular longtime event in the Chicago Auto Show takes place each February.

Lake Shore Drive can get extremely nasty in times of horrible weather.  During the last 50 years, each time Chicago has been nailed with blizzard/white-out conditions (January 1967, January 1979, and February 2011 chief among them), the four-lane road adjacent to Lake Michigan would turn into a instant winter blunderland as dozens of cars, trucks, and buses would become stranded with no way to get out.

As we get closer to that time, I might think about providing a small checklist for fans who might be thinking of traveling to downtown Chicago for a game in trying to survive what Ol’ Man Winter would throw in that part of the Midwest.

When Mother Nature greets the Windy City with beautiful weather (watch out when popular meteorologists like Cheryl Scott of ABC7 say, “Cooler by the lake”), there are plenty of activities to do and shops to see, along with sampling from hundreds of awesome places to eat (but be prepared for slightly higher prices due to Illinois’ rather exorbitant 10 percent state sales tax).

For air travelers, you are around an hour outside of O’Hare Airport and a good 45 minute or so ride (depending on traffic and overall road conditions) from Midway.  Train travelers using either Amtrak or locally with Metra definitely have it made in the shade at Union Station which is located a good two miles away on the west side of the Loop.  From there, you could either hop a short CTA bus ride or take a healthy walk east into the heart of true Shopper’s Paradise along State Street and the always bustling Michigan Avenue.  For Uber passengers, good luck trying to get a good deal because those underground parking lots can be a bear–especially during any weekday from around 7 a.m. to well after 6:30 p.m.

How do I know all this?  I used to travel to Chicago a lot starting way back on Black Friday 1979 to my over two years being employed at a place that sold employment law publications over the phone around the turn of the century.

And from what I have read online about the new arena, it promises to be a really cool experience for the fans.  But for DePaul to come close to their last really great era (which was during the Ray Meyer years of 1979 through 1981 when they were often near the top of the national polls), they have to recruit quality talent and not lose on any local players that decide to bolt to other schools either in-state or at other popular out-of-state schools like Louisville, Michigan State, and Duke.

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