I've been trying to focus on some responsibilities away from Boltsmag... Yesterday was a day especially where I was focusing away from the site and hockey in general.
Keith, my Calgary Flames fan friend, dropped an email to me that Bill Wirtz had died. It wasn't a matter-of-fact email, it was a quip.
And yet reading the news piece itself, all I could do was smirk. The true "Dollar Bill" of hockey and his anal, tightwad, ancient ways were no longer going to rule the Chicago Blackhawk franchise... His grip on NHL leadership is gone.
Bill Wirtz reputation as an owner is comparable to Hugh Culverhouse and Bill Bidwell of the NFL (Culverhouse, since passed, was Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner -- and a tightwad himself while pledging millions for philanthropic causes)... Wirtz had control of one of the Original Six NHL franchises and ran it into the ground -- milking the team for what money he could get, alienating the fanbase and making the Blackhawks irrelevant in the hockey world. He didn't just alienate fans but turned of generations of midwesterners to what should be one of the marquee franchises of pro sports.
Bill Wirtz is dead, and all I can do is smirk. This overlooks the mans own philanthropic deeds and how it improved lives (though I do not know what he has given to or who he has supported with his money). Just as well, his legacy for me will be handcuffing the 'Hawks.