Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Bill Wirtz is Dead

by Jes

I'm not one to celebrate somebody's death, but can't help but feeling something positive for Hawks fans and hockey at the death (cancer) of "Dollar Bill" Wirtz.

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 was the epitome of greed, and now the Hawks can, perhaps, beging a period of real healing. Since he refused to sell the team, the only way to get the Hawks out of Wirtz's clutches, unfortunately, was his death.

(Edit: for a good editorial on Wirtz's passing, check out RosenBlog, from a local Chicago writer. Thanks to Wayne for the tip)

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Agreed. Dollar Bill was not good for the 'Hawks and their years of futility exemplified that. His passing, while sad and unfortunate, hopefully means this once storied franchise will now be on its way to becoming a decent and model hockey organization from top to bottom.

I certainly hope the TV blackouts for this season are lifted so that 'Hawks fans have the chance to see their own team in their own city...
1) Its only good news if he didn't have a tight-wad, dick for a son/son-in law? If so, things won't change.
2) We bet the folks in Boston are hoping this it will be a trend. ; )
Estate tax will force the Wirtz family to sell.
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