The future of the Chicago Blackhawks soccer club is now uncertain after owner Peter Karmanos announced on Monday that the team would not renew its lease for the 2016-17 season.
Karmanos told the Chicago Tribune that the decision was driven by a desire to focus on his goal of building a soccer-specific stadium in the city, rather than the financial success of the team.
“It was a tough decision to make, and I believe we made it because it’s the right thing to do,” Karmano said.
“This team is one of the most important franchises in sports.
This is where the history of the Blackhawks lies.”
The Hawks, who were sold to billionaire Joe Lacob in 2015, were one of three MLS franchises to relocate from Chicago in the last few years.
The Chicago Fire, Minnesota United, and New York City FC also left the city.
The Chicago Fire sold their team to billionaire Steve Kaplan in April.
The Blackhawks were the last MLS team to relocate after the 2015 NBA season, when the Portland Trail Blazers and the Portland Thorns relocated to Seattle.
The team’s lease with the Chicago Park District expires in 2023.