Rocky Wirtz, the chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, has passed away, the team officially confirmed. Check out How did Rocky Wirtz die.
Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz dies at age 70.
Former Chicago Blackhawks Chairman, Rocky Wirtz, passed away at the age of 70 after a brief illness, as reported by sources on Tuesday.
Wirtz was the chairman of the Blackhawks since 2007, when he inherited the franchise from his father, Bill. His grandfather, Arthur Wirtz, purchased the franchise in 1954 when Rocky Wirtz was two years old.
Wirtz passed away at NorthShore Evanston Hospital surrounded by his wife and children, according to a statement by the Wirtz Corporation.
“Our hearts are very heavy today,” said Danny Wirtz, CEO of the Blackhawks and the son of Rocky Wirtz, in a statement. “Our dad was a passionate businessman committed to making Chicago a great place to live, work and visit, but his true love was for his family and close friends.
“He was a loving father, a devoted husband to Marilyn, a brother, a nephew, an uncle and a doting grandfather to his six remarkable grandchildren. His passing leaves a huge hole in the hearts of many, and we will miss him terribly.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL family is deeply saddened by his sudden passing.
“Devoted to family and the Chicago Blackhawks, Rocky was a native son of Chicago and an accomplished businessman,” Bettman said in a release. “Rocky took over control of the Blackhawks in 2007 and almost immediately restored the passion and following of this storied, Original Six franchise.”
William Wirtz was nicknamed “Dollar Bill” for his frugality when it came to acquiring the services of the game’s best players. And the team struggled, making only one playoff appearance from 1998-2008.
Everything changed when Rocky Wirtz became the team chairman. He helped re-establish the franchise’s connection to some of its best players from the past.