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  • Blackhawks' Owner... Dead!

    Blackhawks Owner Bill Wirtz Dead at 77
    1 hour ago

    CHICAGO (AP) William Wirtz, the longtime owner of the Chicago Blackhawks notorious for driving a hard bargain, died Wednesday at age 77.

    In an announcement on the team Web site, the Blackhawks said Wirtz died at Evanston Hospital after battling cancer.

    The family, led by Arthur Wirtz, purchased the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. In 1966, William Wirtz became team president.

    Wirtz was chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Hockey League for 18 years and helped negotiate the merger of the NHL and the World Hockey Association in the late 1970's.

    Together with Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Wirtz helped back the construction of the United Center, which replaced the Chicago Stadium, the long-time home for Blackhawks.

    But since moving there 12 years ago, the Blackhawks have made just four playoff appearances only two since 1997. The Blackhawks haven't played in the Stanley Cup finals in 15 years. As a result, the Blackhawks one of the six original NHL teams average about 12,700 fans per game in an arena that seats 20,500.

    Wirtz' stewardship of the Blackhawks was long questioned, with the criticism becoming more vociferous in recent years. Many fans blamed him for allowing too many good players to leave over the years, and for his refusal to televise most home games.

    At the United Center, the retired numbers of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall and Denis Savard hang high above the ice. It has been years since players of that caliber have played for the team.

    And in recent years, Chicago lost such high-caliber players as Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Ed Belfour and Chris Chelios.

    There are other banners hanging from the United Center rafters, touting the many successful seasons for the franchise. One stands out: the one representing the Stanley Cup in 1961, the last time the Blackhawks won the championship.

    Wirtz often said his goal was for the team to win another Stanley Cup, but he was not known to spend lavishly on the team. His steadfast refusal to get into bidding wars to acquire the services of the game's best players earned Wirtz the nickname "Dollar Bill." That image changed somewhat when the club signed goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $27 million contract in 2005.

    Despite his reputation for paying close attention to the bottom line, Wirtz was known for his philanthropy.

    Since its establishment in 1993, Blackhawk Charities has donated millions of dollars to worthy causes in Chicago, including the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois.

    Wirtz' interest in sports extended beyond the NHL. He served on both the 1980 and 1984 Winter Olympic Committees. And for his efforts on both the professional and amateur levels, Mr. Wirtz was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.

    In addition to being president of the Blackhawks, Wirtz' business endeavors extended to real estate, liquor distributorships, catering, parking lots, banking, hotels and the travel industry.

    Wirtz is survived by his wife, Alice, five children, Rocky, Gail, Karey, Peter and Alyson, and seven grandchildren.
    May he RIP and now may the Blackhawks move forward!
    Keep on Civin'
    RIP rah, Tony Bogey & Baron O

  • #2
    It's so wrong that this will be celebrated by so many people...

    Is it too late to get hawks games on TV for the new season?
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

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    • #3
      I'm sad for his family but happy for the franchise.

      They really need the home games on TV. Anything to start attracting back fans. (Yes, a winning team would help) Heck last year they had to pay a radio station to broadcast their games. That's pretty pathetic and shows how bad the fan base has eroded. His son always said he supported his ole man's decision to not put the home games on TV but I have a sneaky suspision that now that his dad is gone, that tune will change.
      It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
      RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Asher
        It's so wrong that this will be celebrated by so many people...
        I will not celebrate his death. However, I'm thrilled for what this might mean for a once proud franchise.
        He did a lot of good things in his life. But his ownership of the Hawks wasn't one of them.
        Keep on Civin'
        RIP rah, Tony Bogey & Baron O

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        • #5
          Maybe the son will sell the team... :hope:

          I won't celebrate anyone's death (well, anyone who wasn't responsible for many other deaths anyway) but I'm not exactly heartbroken either

          There's no reason Chicago couldn't be a great Hockey town... it's a great sports town and lots of people play hockey here in the winter. Hopefully it will be again ...
          <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
          I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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          • #6
            If they televised the funeral, would they black it out in Chicago to help make sure people attend?



            Shouldn't make jokes of another's death, one of the long term owners of a team, but as has been said, this could turn into a good thing long term for the Black Hawks.

            Correct me if I am wrong, but are they not the current holders of the longest stretch without a cup? Would be good to see them win and get the trophy for ineptitude back where it belongs............in the home of the Maple Laughs .

            I am sure that Harold Ballard and Bill Wirtz are having a drink together somewhere, whether it is a warm or a cold one is another matter

            /me
            "Clearly I'm missing the thread some of where the NFL actually is." - Ben Kenobi on his NFL knowledge

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            • #7
              Maybe this is enough to draw Sava back to the site...
              <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
              I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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              • #8
                I knew this would be a celebratory thread.
                Only feebs vote.

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                • #9
                  Chicago last won the Cup in 1961.

                  They lost to Montreal in 1973 and Pittsburgh in 92, both coached by Scotty Bowman.

                  Toronto last won in 1967 (also their last appearance in the Finals).
                  Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Ben Franklin
                  Iain Banks missed deadline due to Civ | The eyes are the groin of the head. - Dwight Schrute.
                  One more turn .... One more turn .... | WWTSD

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                  • #10
                    So forty six years is the current futility record then? Were all of those Wirtz years?

                    The Maple Leafs at least had Harold Ballard as an excuse when he was alive, but he has been gone for long enough that he can no longer be blamed for the lack of successful seasons.

                    How long will it take Chicago to recover from Wirtz?

                    /me
                    "Clearly I'm missing the thread some of where the NFL actually is." - Ben Kenobi on his NFL knowledge

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                    • #11
                      RIP.
                      (\__/)
                      (='.'=)
                      (")_(") This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your signature to help him gain world domination.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparrowhawk
                        How long will it take Chicago to recover from Wirtz?
                        I'm going to bet not too long, if ownership gets with the programme.

                        They have a good pool of young talent and a great market that will support a team if they are allowed to.

                        It also helps that they are not in the toughest division around, so progress could be dramatic with good management and the aforementioned pool of young talent.
                        (\__/)
                        (='.'=)
                        (")_(") This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your signature to help him gain world domination.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lord Avalon
                          Chicago last won the Cup in 1961.

                          They lost to Montreal in 1973 and Pittsburgh in 92, both coached by Scotty Bowman.

                          Toronto last won in 1967 (also their last appearance in the Finals).
                          NO WAY!!

                          I was taking a trip back in my mind, and remember how much respect I had for the old Chicago BlackHawks from the 1970's..man memories having grown up a hockey fanatic


                          Couple Old Timers Glenn Hall Goalie and Pierre Pilote defenseman





                          My second favorite Goaltender (Tony Esposito)of all time, tied with kenny Dryden of Les Habs



                          My third favorite defensemen brother of Olympic gold medalist Karen Magnuson



                          and near and dear to my heart is one of my all time favorite wingers, Stan Mikita, who actually annually golfs aboard Camp Lejeune for a good cause, super great guy all around!!



                          Bobby (left) and brother Dennis Hull The Golden Jet and the Jet

                          Hi, I'm RAH and I'm a Benaholic.-rah

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                          • #14
                            Blackhawks' Owner... Dead!


                            haha, i dance on your grave
                            A ship at sea is its own world. To be the captain of a ship is to be the unquestioned ruler of that world and requires all of the leadership skills of a prince or minister.

                            Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing, sooner than war

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                            • #15
                              Are you Sava's DL?
                              <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
                              I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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