Rocky Wirtz


Rocky Wirtz

William Rockwell "Rocky" Wirtz (1952-) is the owner of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. Wirtz managed the Judge & Dolph, Ltd. liquor distributorship until October 2007. He assumed control of the franchise shortly after the death of his father, Bill Wirtz; and his brother, Peter Wirtz, decided to maintain Bismarck Enterprises in lieu of owning the team. [cite web|url=http://blackhawks.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=339250|title=Rocky Wirtz Assumes Role As Hawks Chairman Last accessed October 5, 2007.]

Ownership of the Blackhawks

Almost immediately after becoming the new owner, Rocky Wirtz began altering some longstanding policies implemented by his father, which many fans saw as archaic. According to a source within the Hawks organization, Rocky Wirtz "believes in spending money to make money," in marked contrast to his father.cite news|last=Sassone|first=Tim|url=http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=52189&src=149|title=Culture shock hits Hawks|publisher="The Daily Herald"|date=October 5, 2007 Last accessed October 6, 2007.] Wirtz stated in a brief interview that he would keep Dale Tallon as Blackhawks general manager and Denis Savard as head coach. He also affirmed at the time that Bob Pulford would remain as the team's senior vice president, but later re-assigned him to Blackhawks liaison on NHL affairs. [cite news|url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=220379&hubname=nhl|title=Blackhawks reassign senior VP Pulford|publisher=Canadian Press|date=October 11, 2007]

On October 22, 2007, Rocky announced that the team was in negotiations with Comcast SportsNet Chicago (of which he is part-owner) to begin televising home games. Since then, they have begun to show a select amount of home games, with Wirtz citing preexisting agreements Comcast had with other programming as a reason why not all of the remaining 2007-08 home schedule could be shown. Wirtz also hired John McDonough, formerly with the Chicago Cubs to become the new President of the team. [cite news|url=http://mlb.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/chc/y2007/m11/d20/c2304700.jsp|title=John McDonough resigns as President of the Chicago Cubs|publisher=mlb.com] Many believe that McDonough's presence, along with the young talent on the Blackhawks team, will improve the team's marketing ability and reverse what has been a long drought in popularity.

Former players Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, who were not on good terms with Bill Wirtz, have worked with the team in the role of "ambassadors," [cite news|url=http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gOMOAqKa5ZHjUfp6rDJj4KgNXygQ|title=Hull and Mikita revel in ambassador roles for revived Blackhawks franchise] another sign that Rocky Wirtz has been able to undo the damage to the franchise many attributed to his father. A big step showing that this damage had been coming undone came when the Chicago Blackhawks celebrated Hull and Mikita in a joint celebration at the United Center on Friday, March 7, 2008. Met with more mixed reaction was Wirtz's decision to lessen the use of the United Center's organ in favor of more prerecorded current music to attract new, younger fans.To honor Mr. Wirtz, RockyWirtz is the screenname used by online poker pro Gordo Woltman at UltimatePoker.

References

External links

* [http://blackhawks.nhl.com/team/rockywirtzbio.htm Rocky Wirtz biography] on the Blackhawks' official site


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