The Crusader Newspaper Group

Blackhawks mourn the passing of Chairman Rocky Wirtz

Blackhawks Rocky Wirtz

Photo caption: Rocky Wirtz

It is with deep sadness that the Chicago Blackhawks organization joins the Wirtz Family in mourning the sudden passing of our Chairman W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz today at the age of 70.

The Chicago Blackhawks have been in the Wirtz family since 1954 when Rocky’s grandfather, Arthur Wirtz, purchased the team. Rocky grew up within the walls of the storied Chicago Stadium and after taking over as Chairman of the Blackhawks in 2007, he led a renaissance of the organization that brought in a new generation of fans and reshaped the Blackhawks fandom as it stands today.

His commitments and investment delivered the team’s historic Stanley Cup championship victories in 2010, 2013 and 2015, brought Blackhawks games back to local television and packed the United Center for a lengthy sellout streak that lasted over 13 years. In that same time, Rocky also served as a member of the National Hockey League’s Executive and Audit/Finance Committees.

Above all else, Rocky was most proud to lead his family’s commitment to numerous civic and charitable organizations. His dedication to the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and its mission to create a healthier, smarter, more secure world for families in and around Chicago was unwavering. The Foundation has donated millions of dollars to dozens of organizations focused on youth programs, education, housing and health and wellness.

When seeking a new practice rink for the Blackhawks, Rocky first considered the needs of the local community and invested $65 million to build a community ice rink first, and a practice rink second. The facility offers numerous benefits to Chicago’s youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity or resources to learn the sport of hockey. Since its 2017 opening, thousands of students have participated in programming at Fifth Third Arena, the Chicago Blackhawks Community Ice Rink.

Rocky also served as President of Wirtz Corporation since 2007, where his role extended to a vast array of businesses from sports and beverage distribution to entertainment, real estate, agriculture and banking. He also served as Co-Chairman of both the United Center Joint Venture and the Executive Committee of the United Center.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn, and children Danny (Anne) Wirtz, Hillary Wirtz (Erin Quaglia), Kendall (Brendan) Murphy, and Elizabeth Queen (Joe Barley). Rocky was also the proud grandfather of six grandchildren.

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