Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: rocky wirtz
from Melissa Isaacson of ESPN Chicago,
While Wirtz said the club still is not turning a profit on its own, "we're closing the gap" and the new salary cap of $64.3 million will not put the Hawks in a similarly precarious position as they were in 2010.
"Since 2010, we've been able to review ticket prices and we're not there yet but after the lockout, we're now 50-50 with the players, so as we grow the sport, we'll grow with the players," he said.
More importantly to fans and to Wirtz, is that this team does not fall off in the postseason as it did in the two seasons following the 2010 championship, when the Hawks lost in consecutive first rounds.
"Take nothing from Carolina, but they were in the Stanley Cup finals [in 2006] and they didn't make it [to the playoffs] for the next [two seasons], so you don't want to have the peaks and valleys," Wirtz said. "That's the one thing Chicago fans will not tolerate is having a very good team and then being lousy the next few years. As long as you're consistently good and put yourself in position to win, the fans will be there for you."
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
So Wirtz — who spoke at length with the Sun-Times in his lakeshore office Wednesday — said he understands the fans’ frustration and anger over the lockout. He also repeatedly said he thanks them for their patience during the collective-bargaining process. But he also said neither he, nor anyone else, owes those fans an apology for nearly losing an entire season for the second time in eight years.
“I don’t think the owners or the players should have to apologize for going through a collective-bargaining process,” said Wirtz, an investor in the Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports LLC. “Labor is labor, and that’s just the way it is. It might be very distasteful for the fans, but, unfortunately, when you have unions involved, that’s the process you have to go through.”
Many Hawks fans felt differently and took to the Internet with their displeasure about a brief “thank you” letter signed by Wirtz and team president John McDonough. It, too, thanked fans for their patience, but offered no apology to fans, local businesses and others who were hurt by the lockout. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — essentially the working arm and mouthpiece of the owners — apologized publicly in the wake of the Jan. 6 agreement. Wirtz said Bettman “was speaking from the heart” but didn’t feel it was necessary.
Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz believes Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin knew what he was doing when he injured Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell on March 14, and Wirtz believes Ovechkin should have been suspended for the rest of the season.
Ovechkin was suspended two games for the hit, which fractured Campbell’s clavicle and a rib. Campbell was expected to miss 7-8 weeks.
During a taping of an upcoming Crain’s Business of Sports video, Wirtz said the suspension should last as long as the injured player is sidelined.
“If any one of our great players put Ovechkin out for the season, he should be out for the season, too,” Wirtz told Crain’s. “Make it commensurate.
“If you’re really going to hurt a player, knee to knee, make a head hit, and you’re out for the season, then let them suspend that player for the rest of the season. I’ll tell you, you wouldn’t see those knee-to-knee and head hits anymore.”
from Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune,
He orders a chicken Caesar salad and a glass of red wine. Diners nearby turn and stare, and a few snap photos with their cell phones. Ald. Brendan Reilly stops by, and one brave man steps up to the table, apologizes for the interruption and says, “Rocky, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
“That’s so nice,” his daughter, Hillary, says after the man leaves. “People are so nice.”
Rocky Wirtz, 57, having turned the Blackhawks into a winning franchise almost overnight, is quite possibly the most popular businessman in Chicago. But it hasn’t always been that way. He says he hasn’t forgotten the local headline that topped a story about his divorce from his first wife: “For Better or For Wirtz.”
Time: One minute into the game; Brian Campbell scores.
From Chris Kuc at the Chicago Tribune:
With the hiring of Joel Quenneville as Savard’s replacement, some of the focus of the rest of the management team, consisting of Wirtz, McDonough and senior adviser Scotty Bowman, likely will shift to Tallon.
“I can handle it,” Tallon said of the scrutiny. “That’s what we’re in this business for. As John has said, this is a big boys table, a big boys club. We’re here to win. I’m going to give it my all.”
The Hawks have made three coaching changes since Tallon was named the eighth general manager in team history June 21, 2005. Tallon’s first act was to let coach Brian Sutter go. His replacement, Trent Yawney, was dumped Nov. 27, 2006.
Update 1:36pm ET: Blackhawks press release on new additions to coaching staff—
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today the addition of Marc Bergevin as an assistant coach on Joel Quenneville’s staff. Bergevin, 43, is currently in his third season in the Blackhawks front office, having previous served on the scouting staff, which includes his most recent stint as the director of professional scouting. The Montreal native joins John Torchetti, Mike Haviland and goaltending coach Stephane Waite as the fourth member on Quenneville’s staff.
From Ben Klayman at Reuters,
However, many thought Wirtz’s coup was the late November hiring of John McDonough, president of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, to the same position with the Blackhawks.
“We need to take that beautiful arena and we need to bring back the roar and fill that building every night,” McDonough, 54, said. “Expectations are sky high.”
He moved quickly to repair relations with alienated former Blackhawks stars still beloved by fans, hiring Hall-of-Famers Hull, Mikita and Tony Esposito as ambassadors.
“It was embarrassing for a while there. Things were looking real dismal,” said former star goalie Esposito, 65, who was the face of the franchise in the 1970s. He said the club is now being run like it was in its heyday.
more… *a detailed look at the evolution of the Blackhawks franchise
As I’ve written in the past, the changes in Chicago represent one of my favorite NHL stories this season. A remarkable turnaround in effect there.
Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz will be a guest on today’s edition of NHL Hour hosted by National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman on XM Satellite Radio.
Broadcast can be heard live online here, but not till the program is on the air.
NHL Hour broadcasts live Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com. The show will re-run on XM Satellite Radio and NHL.com, with archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
update 4:07pm, Rocky Wirtz had to re-schedule for next week. Mark Messier and Stephen Walkom wll be on the show today.
from the Chicago Tribune (Sunday edition),
“After Dad’s passing, I realized the Hawks have lost money, but I was surprised they had lost as much as they had,” Wirtz said. “I knew we had to start doing something right away.”
If his philosophy could be boiled down to one cliché, it is this: You have to spend money to make money. But as clear as Wirtz is about this basic theory, it is at the perplexing crux of how he differs from his father.
“Dad believed that in our other businesses, and then the money we make, we put right back into the organization,” Wirtz said. “He just didn’t execute it [with the Hawks], and I don’t know why.”
from Kevin Kaduk of the Northwest Herald,
It didn’t take long Monday for Rocky Wirtz to answer the questions many of us have been wanting to ask for about, oh, the past two decades or so.
At any point, did he ever set dear old Dad down for a talk about TV and its magical ability to provide a free three-hour commercial for his product, Chicago Blackhawks hockey?
And did he ever try to argue against the archaic notion that televising home games would hurt the turnstile count?
He had to have said something, right?
“Absolutely,” Wirtz said of his father, Bill, who died in September. “And it usually started and stopped about there.”
From the Chicago Blackhawks,
The Chicago Blackhawks and Comcast SportsNet have announced that Comcast SportsNet will televise their first home game of the season on Sunday, November 11 when the Blackhawks play host to the archrival Detroit Red Wings at 6:00 p.m.
The November 11 game will be the first in a series of home games to be broadcast live and in high-definition on Comcast SportsNet. The full schedule will be released next week with additional home games airing throughout the remainder of the 2007-2008 season.
“It’s time to share the energy and excitement of the Blackhawks with all of our fans,” said Blackhawks Chairman W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz. “We are entering a new era and putting home games back on TV is the first step to supporting our great players and fans.”
*Previously mentioned last week, but only confirmed by the ‘Hawks today
From Jay Mariotti at the Chicago Sun-Times,
I’ll never forget the hilarious day when Jim DeMaria, public relations boss of the least publicly relatable sports team I’ve known, tried to censor me with an ultimatum. If I wanted to cover a Blackhawks home game, I had to agree not to mention the forbidden words: No home TV.
Naturally, in either the first or second paragraph of my live column from the United Center, I wondered why the Hawks were the only franchise in the civilized world not to televise home games. It was such a gross miscalculation of the needs of 21st-century fans, the edict literally swallowed up what once was the crackling pride of every Chicago winter. Long before Michael Jordan, the Hawks owned the West Side, but as long as Bill Wirtz was lowballing his star players and making illogical decisions about TV marketing, they were doomed to plunge further in popularity and impact than any team in American sports.
Well, in the wee hours of a September morning, Mr. Wirtz passed away. And not a month later, in a Monday memo that melted the ice beneath the feet of the few local hockey fans that remain, his son moved quickly to rectify a decades-old blunder.
from the Chicago Daily-Herald,
It’s the question most Hawks fans are asking: Is the team going to be run differently with Rocky Wirtz in the big chair?
The answer is… it sure seems that way.
The fact that Rocky Wirtz recognized Pulford’s presence in the United Center gave the perception to the outside world that he was still making all the decisions was a critical moment in the recent history of the franchise.
According to a source close to Rocky Wirtz, physically removing Pulford from the building and moving his office across town was a symbolic move made to show Hawks fans that change is coming.