Rocky Wirtz Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who presided over three Stanley Cup championships, died Tuesday after a brief illness at the age of 70.

The team confirmed the news on Twitter.

The Blackhawks have been in the Wirtz family since 1954, and Rocky assumed the role of chairman after the death of his father, Bill, in 2007.

Wirtz quickly distinguished himself as owner, striking a landmark deal to broadcast Blackhawks games, which previously had only been available on national telecasts.

The Chicago native will be best remembered, however, for presiding over Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013, and 2015, the franchise’s first titles since 1961.

Wirtz also served as a member of the NHL’s executive and audit/finance committees.

“Our hearts are very heavy today,” Rocky Wirtz’s son and Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in a statement. “Our dad was a passionate businessman committed to making Chicago a great place to live, work and visit, but his true love for his family and close friends. He was a loving father, a devoted husband to Marilyn, a brother, a nephew, an uncle and a doting grandfather to his six remarkable grandchildren. His passing leaves a huge hole in the hearts of many and we will miss him terribly.”

Wirtz’s reign as owner included a notable controversy. Kyle Beach, the Blackhawks first-round in 2008, filed a lawsuit in 2021 against Chicago alleging sexual assault by the team’s former video coach in 2010. After an investigation found that Beach’s complaints to the team went unanswered, longtime general manager Stan Bowman and VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac resigned. Beach reached a confidential settlement with the team in 2021.

Blackhawks fans and others around the league shared their condolences on Wirtz’s death.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.