On Wednesday, the University of Denver men’s hockey team suited up and practiced at the United Center, the home of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, in preparation for their Thursday Frozen Four game against Notre Dame. For Denver defenseman Blake Hillman, it’s a routine that he may just want to get used to.

Hillman, a sophomore, was selected 173rd overall by the Blackhawks in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL draft. This season, he has one goal, seven points and 18 penalty minutes in 41 games.


Because of the way the NHL Draft works, it’s up to Hillman to decide whether he wants to stay at DU for his junior and senior seasons. It’s an option for him, but if he elects to turn pro, his rights are owned by the Blackhawks.

The Pioneers take on the Fighting Irish at 7:30 p.m. MT on Thursday with a chance to play in the national championship game on Saturday night. If the Pioneers prevail, they’ll take on the winner of the game between Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth.