Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wirtz--he dead--high five!

The news of the death of Bill Wirtz this morning was sadly a pleasant surprise. Rarely, if ever do I smile upon hearing the death of or something tragic happen to someone, but tools as big as Mr Wirtz come few and far between. His scrooge-like approach to running my Blackhawks (no I don't own them but they are MY TEAM) has cost this historic franchise and original six team dearly over the last few years. No Stanley Cups since 1961, no finals since 1992(didn't even win a game) and the departure of the following Players (Dennis Sevard- a few times notably in the early 90s, leaving the Hawks to win a title in Montreal, Ed Belfour (the epitome of the 75 cents on the dollar trade, I mean we got Chris Terreri from SJ for God's sake, a "too old" Chris Chelios in 1997, the face of the franchise and team captain was sent to Detroit, our arch rival for.... ANDERS ERIKSSON, Jeremy Roenick for Alexi Zhamnov (who was also cast off along with Tony Amonte). Pat Foley, the best radio hockey guy in the biz, cast off-too expensive- now the voice of the Wolves (see later). The point is, his curmudgeonly attitude towards the franchise has given me great despair. He undertook a philosophy of drawing people to the stadium by blacking out all home games on TV, radio only. Couple that with skyrocketing prices, the hawks were one of the few teams to not radically slash prices after the lockout and the result is a fan base that is less in total than that of the highly successful Chicago Wolves, the AHL farm team to Atlanta. All playoff home games- blocked out-enter HAWK VISION pay-per-view to get all the games. I understand that Wirtz was integral to getting the United Center built ( a fine estabishment) and did so without costing the city a dime and he played a HUGE role in the WHA/NHL merger and for that I am thankful. But the result of a privately funded stadium was not in the money but in a hockey team that has become a laughing stock. It didn't have to be this way, the Bulls won 3 titles in that arena, had the highest payroll and again are back to respectability. Wirtz's death today marks the re-birth of the Blackhawks, one of hockey's oldest, finest and once most respected teams. The Blackhawk franchise can now begin the healing process with its once loyal fanbase, it is now on the fans to respond. RIP Mr. Wirtz may your view of the Hawks from heaven be blocked out

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