Bill Wirtz (1929-2007)
Bill Wirtz died early Wednesday morning. Condolences to the family of the man who owned the Blackhawks and congratulations to the few remaining fans who will admit to still following the team.A man has died, something that I find makes it hard to poke fun of the situation, but Rosenbloom does get to the heart of the matter here as it relates to sports.
I know it sounds insensitive, but if we are going to pass ourselves off as being in the truth business, then the truth is that the greatest impediment to the Hawks success was the Hawks owner, one of the worst in sports history from a fan's standpoint and the man who almost singlehandedly killed hockey interest in this city.
A man of incredible wealth, with interests in real estate, banking and insurance, Wirtz's family bought the Blackhawks in 1954, and in four decades as team president, he became one of hockey's true villains for penny-pinching the team into its current near-death state. Several 'Hawks legends will have nothing to do with the franchise due to the way they were treated on the way out, and that's a crying shame.
It's long been said that the only way Chicago would experience a rebirth would be if Wirtz died and the team was sold, and now that we're at that point, the speculation has already begun to come. Rosenbloom suggests wealthy Chicago Wolves (AHL) owner Don Levin, who had made overtures in recent years about buying Major League Baseball's Cubs.
Makes sense to me.
Whoever takes over the team, or even if the Wirtz family decides to hold on, here's hoping we see the Blackhawks rise again and finally begin to rebuild their tattered fan base.