What's this? A post about the Chicago Blackhawks? I know, crazy. It's no secret that Bill Wirtz, longtime owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, decided at some point in time during the 1990s to completely ruin one of the more historic teams in the NHL, trading away his best players (Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour, Tony Amonte), not putting any money into the team, and blacking out home games, to entice fans to go to the games instead, even when NHL attendance overall was dwindling.
Well, to the obvious sadness of the Wirtz family, Bill died earlier this year from cancer at the age of 77. However, rising to power in his place is his son, Rockwell, or "Rocky". It's clear already that Rocky has very different views on what's in the best interest of the team and the fans. From SI.com:
Blackhawks to change 2007-2008 home TV schedule
"CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks announced Monday they will broadcast seven home games this season, changing the policy of longtime owner William Wirtz, who died in September...
... All the games will be available in high-definition on Comcast SportsNet, which the team partially owns. The first game is Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Rocky Wirtz said it was possible that more home games could make it to the air this season and next season.
"If this is a success and we're doing well and bringing people out, we would be crazy not to televise more games," he said."
There's more to the article, good quotes from Rocky. I also heard on the radio this morning (I guess to be taken as rumor for now) that there is a plan in the works to broadcast about 70 games next season on Comcast Sports Net and other affiliates.
I think this is outstanding news, and it looks to me like the new owner actually cares about the fans, and wants to get the United Center filled up like it used to be. Obviously the team needs a lot more than just games on TV, but it's a great first step, and actually has me interested in what else he has in store.