Rocky Wirtz, president of the Chicago Blackhawks, dies at 70

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Rocky Wirtz, who after taking over from his father as principal owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, won three Stanley Cup championships in the 2010s — a stellar run that lost its luster several years later after an investigation into the sexual assault of one of minor league franchise players by a coach – died Tuesday in Evanston, Illinois. He was 70 years old.

His death, in hospital, was confirmed by John Steinmiller, team spokesman.

Under Mr. Wirtz’s father, William, the Blackhawks, one of the National Hockey League’s six original franchises, had become a downtrodden, money-losing franchise. The team hadn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961. Attendance at the United Center was among the worst in the league. And home games weren’t televised.

“I would say, ‘Dad, we’re losing generations of fans by not broadcasting home games,’” Wirtz said in a New York Times interview in 2010. “He said it wouldn’t be fair to our season-ticket fans. But we were down to 3,400 season tickets, which meant maybe 1,500 to 1,700 fans. So we weren’t broadcasting home games to 1,700 people?

Soon after his father’s death in 2007, Mr. Wirtz, who became team president, made a deal to televise home games (seven at first, but a full season’s worth in 2008-9) and changed its ticketing policy in a was more dynamic and more profitable. Under his father, all seats on one level, regardless of their location, were sold at the same price, a policy that decreased revenue.

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