The Blackhawks are selling the Wirtz family story

The Blackhawks are selling the Wirtz family story

Barry Melrose Rocks

The Blackhawks are selling the Wirtz family story


The Chicago Blackhawks are advertizing a book called “The Breakaway” The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business” on their team site. Proceeds go towards the Blackhawks Foundation, which in the year when Bill Wirtz was in charge was a secret compartment literally in the United Center’s foundation.

The Blackhawks fan base might remember the  team’s longest championship drought in the NHL, which occurred under Wirtz’ tenure, and missing the playoffs for 10 years before his passing. They were  in this hole, in no small part because Wirtz refused to make money, or so it seemed.

The policy that everyone remembers Wirtz for was his TV. Policy. He refused to air home Blackhawks Games unless they were picked up nationally because it was “unfair to season ticket holders”. Of course, the Blackhawks were so bad they could never get picked up nationally, and the Hawks were never on in Chicago when they were in town.

Of course we all know how much money TV contracts are for sports teams. The Blackhawks almost certainly could have doubled their TV contract, and perhaps, they could have used that on players or something. I don’t know. If Wirtz truly was smart enough to have a book written about his business acumen, then this policy was about spite. Naked, unrelenting spite.

I’m not a great businessman, of course, but I have had a few jobs and was told over and over that the customer is always right. The Wirtz mantra, apparently, was the customer is an asshole, do what you can to drive them away.

To be fair, that was perhaps only the Bill Wirtz mantra. When he passed away in 2007, it took only a year for Rocky Wirtz to lead Chicago back to the playoffs, and Stanley Cup success. Since his first year, this past season was the first time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs under Rocky. Maybe this focuses exclusively on how to take over when your father has worked to drive customer loyalty into the ground.

I guess for me, the only selling point for this book is that it is for charity. Deforestation is a real issue, though, so instead of buying a book and killing a tree, just contribute directly to charity, why don’t you?

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