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Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz dies at 70

Rocky Wirtz, the principal owner of the Chicago Blackhawks since 2007, died on Tuesday at age 70.

Wirtz was the fifth owner in franchise history, inheriting it from his father, Bill, after his death in 2007.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release that the league was “deeply saddened” by Wirtz’s death.

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Owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks prepares to speak to the crowd during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally at Soldier Field on June 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

“Devoted to family and the Chicago Blackhawks, Rocky was a native son of Chicago and an accomplished businessman,” Bettman said. “Rocky took over control of the Blackhawks in 2007 and almost immediately restored the passion and following of this storied, Original Six franchise.”

Rocky Wirtz speaking

Rocky Wirtz, Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, speaks during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup Championship rally at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois on JUNE 28, 2013.

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“Our hearts are very heavy today. Our dad was a passionate businessman committed to making Chicago a great place to live, work and visit, but his true love was for his family and close friends,” Wirtz son, Blackhawks CEO Danny, said. 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 won three Stanley Cups in his tenure, bringing the Cup to the Windy City in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

He was two years old when his grandfather Arthur, purchased the team in 1954.

Rocky Wirtz holding Stanley Cup

 Owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates by hoisting the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning  by a score of 2-0 in Game Six to win the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the United Center  on June 15, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.   (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Wirtz helped re-establish the franchise’s connection to some of its best players from the past. He put the team’s games back on local TV, and fans returned to the United Center during a lengthy sellout streak that ended in 2021.

While Wirtz was in control, the team made the playoffs 10 times and reached five Western Conference Finals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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