On July 25th, 2023, the Blackhawks announced that their owner since 2007 passed away. Rocky Wirtz had been the owner ever since it was handed down to him by his father, Bill Wirtz. Over Bill's tenure as owner, the team did not perform particularly well, and it is not known for being a good era in team history. The opposite could be said for Rocky, as he is known as the savior of the Hawks franchise after the dark times that preceded him.
During Rocky's time as owner, the team was at the height of its glory, winning three Stanley Cups in six years. While the team has not performed very well lately, there is plenty of reason for optimism after this year's draft and free agency. The team seems to be in a good direction and has the ownership and management in place for future success.
The timing of Rocky's passing is also something that is eerily similar. Bill Wirtz passed away in 2007, during a time when the team was looking very promising with Kane and Toews on the come up. Similarly, Rocky now passes away when the team is in a similar situation, with Bedard joining the team and starting a new era for the Hawks.
While Rocky's tenure as owner resulted in a lot of team success, there has also been a fair amount of controversy. Rocky's knowledge of the situation regarding Kyle Beach is something that has been widely discussed while mentioning the owner.
The official investigation deems that ownership did not know what was happening at the time. However, there have been statements proclaiming that the entire team and management knew of it. Rocky's handling of a question regarding Kyle Beach during a town hall meeting also sparked some issues when he seemed to want to sweep everything under the rug and move forward.
It is almost impossible to know for certain who may have been aware, but the team was punished by the NHL. Whether or not people think the punishment was fair, the Hawks did everything they could to remove everyone from the team that was associated with that era. With Danny Wirtz taking over as owner, the organization truly has no one left from 2010 and people can move on now that there is nothing more to be done.
Now that the Hawks are entering a new era with a new owner and new face of the franchise, this team is truly brand new from the one that fans grew accustomed to. Danny Wirtz has been working with his father for a while and held the title of team CEO as well. There is no reason to think Danny is not qualified enough for this position and hopefully, he can follow in the footsteps of success that Rocky brought to Chicago.