The Phantom of the United Center

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The Eulogy

 

Bill Wirtz did not exist as a human being to me. I saw his smug grin plastered on anything related to the Blackhawks, but I never knew his opinions. He rarely made public appearances or commented on the sorry state of his hockey team. Business decisions were firmly rooted in the twentieth century. For all I know, he could have died twenty years ago. As the home attendance figures dwindled and apathy increased, that face still smiled confidently, reassuring the pigs that the Battle of the Windmill was a great success. Wirtz became the Blackhawks symbol in place of the Indianhead.

The Aftermath

From a pragmatic standpoint, he will remain the face of the franchise. Bob Pulford, as the Senior Vice President, seems likely to become the interim president. Pully embodies the same principles that Wirtz did, as he has been part of the franchise for 30 years. Peter Wirtz, the heir to the throne, is a mystery. Will he help the Blackhawks evolve into a modern franchise? Will he realize that blacking out home games has a positive correlation to the fan’s lack of interest? Unless the answer to both questions is yes, I see no longterm benefits to Chicago Blackhawks fans.

 

My condolences go out to the Wirtz family. Even though I have an inappropriately named blog, I never wish death on anyone. For God’s sake, my season previews are “written” by animals that belong to my brother.

Update: For a perspective from someone who was one of Wirtz’s greatest critics, please read Steve Rosenbloom’s piece.

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