Blackhawks principal owner, chairperson Rocky Wirtz, dies at 70

Wirtz became an owner in the Hawks in 2007 after the passing of his father, Bill Wirtz
Wirtz was at the BMO Harris Bank Center for a signing of his book 'The Breakaway: The Inside...
Wirtz was at the BMO Harris Bank Center for a signing of his book 'The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks'.(WIFR)
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 7:03 PM CDT
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CHICAGO (WIFR) - Blackhawks principal owner and three-time Stanley Cup Champion Rocky Wirtz has died at the age of 70.

Wirtz became a part of the Hawks ownership group back in 2007 after inheriting ownership from his father, Bill Wirtz. The Wirtz name and the history of the Blackhawks are intertwined when Rocky’s grandfather, Arthur Wirtz, bought a stake in the team in 1950.

The team’s fifth principal owner saw numerous changes over his 15-year tenure in Chicago. Soon after taking over in 2007, Wirtz overturned his late father’s views on televising rights in Chicago as Wirtz negotiated a deal to televise all home games.

Along with the change in tv, he oversaw the rise in popularity of the team as they went on to win three Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Wirtz’s time wasn’t without controversy though. In 2021, former prospect Kyle Beach alleged he was sexually assaulted by the team’s video coach at the time. While Wirtz was not aware of the allegations at the time, the NHL would fine the Blackhawks $2 million for “inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response”.

“Our hearts are very heavy today,” Rocky Wirtz’s son and Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said, “Our dad was a passionate businessman committed to making Chicago a great place to live, work and visit, but his true love 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.”

A cause of death has not been revealed at this time.