September 26, 2007

Chicago Blackhawks Owner Bill Wirtz Passed Away......: Wirtz had been ill for a long time with cancer and finally succumbed this morning. Wirtz was considered the power of the NHL amongst the owners and he was the chairman of the board of the NHL for 18 seasons. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.

posted by skydivedad to hockey at 06:45 AM - 11 comments

As a Life long Blackhawks fan I used to say things would get better for the Blackhawks when Wirtz dies and this is a feeling I shared with many others. I've seen Fantasy Hockey Teams named "WhenWirtzDies". Well, it doesn't feel so good now that it's a reality and I find myself saddened and ashamed of my earlier feelings. He was there at the Old Chicago Stadium many times in my youth when I attended my 1st games in the 1960's. My condolances to his family and it's truly a sad day for Chicago and the World of Hockey.

posted by skydivedad at 06:53 AM on September 26, 2007


posted by BornIcon at 07:04 AM on September 26, 2007

Anticipating the guy's demise was in poor taste, as the Dead Schembechlers band discovered when Bo died. But it's hard to argue with the facts. For all of Wirtz's early accomplishments, Chicago became a semipro team under his miserly budget. Like Bill Bidwell in Arizona, an owner condemned a franchise to complete ineptitude.

posted by rcade at 08:28 AM on September 26, 2007

He can be a nice guy and good man and all that - but he was a cancer to that franchise. I don't think there's much of argument to made otherwise. One of the best franchises in the game and it was pretty much rendered a laughing stock under Wirtz (and the home blackouts were just crazy). Still my personal wish was that he'd sell the franchise rather than, you know, die.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:43 AM on September 26, 2007

Bill Wirtz has been an interesting force in Illinois for some time, through his shenanigans with lobbying for liquor distribution laws that benefited his distribution business (the most odious of which was passed after he contributed almost a million dollars to state legislators but was later struck down in federal court as unconstitutional) and obviously in his ownership of the Blackhawks. It pains me to see an Original Six franchise run the way this one has been (and I'm looking at you, too, Boston), so perhaps this will be the impetus for a turnaround of the franchise.

posted by holden at 09:28 AM on September 26, 2007

You mean I might finally be able to watch my city's pro hockey team on TV?

posted by misskaz at 09:57 AM on September 26, 2007

What WeedyMcSmokey said. You mean I might finally be able to watch my city's pro hockey team on TV? Not so fast. His family still owns the team. I hope they change the way they run the franchise, but I'm betting it's unlikely to change.

posted by Jeffwa at 10:15 AM on September 26, 2007

I do have to admit, I do feel a twinge of ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead about this. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it's there. And things may not change, especially immediately, but the chances of someone else in the Wirtz family listening to reason and dragging the management practices of the Blackhawks out of the dark ages and into even the late 20th century have to have just gone up. I mean, they just have to, right?

posted by chicobangs at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2007

Unless the NHL Board of Governors asks them not to to save the creation of a Federal Taskforce to protect Jeremy Jacobs.

posted by yerfatma at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2007

You never like to hear that a longtime owner passes away,but sadly this might be a good thing for the Hawks in the longrun. Don't get me wrong it's sad that he passed,but as a lifelong fan, the "Dollar Bill" Wirtz jokes were gettin real old. Hopefully the family will bring in some talent now and make a run at respectfulness with this team because it's been a long time since we have been there.

posted by jda at 07:47 PM on September 26, 2007

Fans Boo moment of silence. [via]

posted by garfield at 02:58 PM on October 09, 2007

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