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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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Bill Wirtz Dead

Wonder if they show home games in Heaven?

Sept. 26, 2007, 5:33AM



Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz dead at 77


CHICAGO — William Wirtz, the longtime owner of the Chicago Blackhawks notorious for driving a hard bargain, died Wednesday at age 77.

In an announcement on the team Web site, the Blackhawks said Wirtz died at Evanston Hospital after battling cancer.

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' stewardship of the Blackhawks was long questioned, with the criticism becoming more vociferous in recent years. Many fans blamed him for allowing too many good players to leave over the years, and for his refusal to televise most home games.

At the United Center, the retired numbers of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall and Denis Savard hang high above the ice. It has been years since players of that caliber have played for the team.

And in recent years, Chicago lost such high-caliber players as Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Ed Belfour and Chris Chelios.

There are other banners hanging from the United Center rafters, touting the many successful seasons for the franchise. One stands out: the one representing the Stanley Cup in 1961, the last time the Blackhawks won the championship.

Wirtz often said his goal was for the team to win another Stanley Cup, but he was not known to spend lavishly on the team. His steadfast refusal to get into bidding wars to acquire the services of the game's best players earned Wirtz the nickname "Dollar Bill." That image changed somewhat when the club signed goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $27 million contract in 2005.

Despite his reputation for paying close attention to the bottom line, Wirtz was known for his philanthropy.

Since its establishment in 1993, Blackhawk Charities has donated millions of dollars to worthy causes in Chicago, including the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois.

Wirtz' interest in sports extended beyond the NHL. He served on both the 1980 and 1984 Winter Olympic Committees. And for his efforts on both the professional and amateur levels, Mr. Wirtz was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.

In addition to being president of the Blackhawks, Wirtz' business endeavors extended to real estate, liquor distributorships, catering, parking lots, banking, hotels and the travel industry.

Wirtz is survived by his wife, Alice, five children, Rocky, Gail, Karey, Peter and Alyson, and seven grandchildren.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe I could dig out my old jerseys .

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I will sock ya square in your snot locker if you EVER use the term "Bron Bron" in my presence - BAHLEEDAT
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 06:57 AM
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Does this mean the Blackhawks might have a chance to be good???

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 06:57 AM
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Maybe we can see the home games on TV now.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 07:05 AM
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I'm very sorry to sound like a cold hearted bastard and I hope God forgives me for this...

WOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!

God Rest his Soul!!!

Now the Blackhawks have a fighting chance to be good and maybe, just maybe we can get home games on TV!!!

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 07:08 AM
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I wonder if the family will sell it to someone interested in making the team good...

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 08:00 AM
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Seems like there is a lot of Wirtz haters. I'm one of them. It'll be interesting to see how the team changes in the next few years.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 08:37 AM
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RIP, but yeah, it will be interesting to see what changes occur.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 09:08 AM
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They make their $$$ on Booze, not the Hawks - I am guessing he had it set as a tax write off to show a loss every year and have offsets of the Liquor Dist monies somehow

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 11:35 AM
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Sorry to say- RIP, but who cares about the ginblossom bastard?


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 11:44 AM
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rip, but hooray for some home games being televised

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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wow, no sympathy from CLSB...and who am I to change that. I spaced out after line 3 of that article fantasizing about who will own the team and how much they might spend to keep some good players around.

Here's hoping for a Hawk's winning future
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-26-2007, 08:35 PM
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RIP Dollar Bill you steaming pile of shit.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-27-2007, 07:09 AM
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RIP Bill. He did some good for the sport, but he just couldn't seem to pull it together as a franchise owner.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-27-2007, 07:29 PM
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