From South Bend to Chicago: Landon Slaggert Makes His NHL Debut

 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Getty Images

90 miles or an hour and a half’s drive away is the city of Chicago. A weekend getaway for some, Landon Slaggert visited frequently as a young kid, making trips for ice hockey practices and games while playing for the Chicago Mission. Many of those trips led to Fifth Third Arena, the practice facility of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Years later, that connection would be reignited when he was drafted by those same Blackhawks in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Now, after four years at the University of Notre Dame, including the most recent as captain of the 2023-24 Fighting Irish hockey team, Slaggert made his National Hockey League debut on March 15 in Chicago with the Blackhawks, but this time at the United Center in front of twenty thousand fans. Among those fans were an estimated 80 family members and friends, from former teammates to classmates, coaches, Irish hockey staffers, and his grandparents from Minnesota. There was no better night for a debut as the luck of the Irish was in the air with St. Patrick’s Day just days away the Blackhawks held their annual St. Patrick’s Day themed game. 

Slaggert’s early years of hockey began by playing for the Irish Youth Hockey League here in South Bend. In search of further development and the opportunity to compete with and against the best in his age group, Slaggert made the move to the Chicago Mission before joining the United States National Team Development Program as a 17U and 18U player. In between that, Slaggert also became an Adams Eagle, spending two of his four years of highschool at Adams. He then landed back home at the University of Notre Dame for his college career. During his time at Notre Dame, he also represented the United States as a member of the gold medal winning World Juniors team in 2021, and 2022 where he was also named an assistant captain, which The Tower covered in 2022. This year in his final season at Notre Dame, he racked up 20 goals, the most he scored in a season during his college career. While the Irish were unable to move on in the BIG 10 tournament after two losses to Michigan, Slaggert signed his first NHL contract with the Blackhawks just a day later. With the Blackhawks already eliminated from playoff contention, Slaggert can play in the remaining games of the season and gain valuable experience that he will be able to take into his rookie season next year. 

For South Bend’s hockey community, Slaggert provides inspiration for young kids in their early days of the Irish Youth Hockey League through his coaching and mentoring at summer hockey camps and by his example, that if they work hard enough and dream big enough anything is possible. Congratulations Landon, your hometown of South Bend and all of your fellow Adams Eagles are cheering you on!

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