Rocky Wirtz

Blackhawks announce United Center service honoring late owner Rocky Wirtz

Wirtz, the chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, passed away after a brief illness Tuesday

NBC Universal, Inc.

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who passed away last week at the age of 70.

The team announced Monday that a private ceremony will be held on Aug. 8, followed by two public ceremonies on Aug. 9 at the United Center, the home of his beloved Chicago team.

The public event will begin at 11 a.m. inside the arena, with first-come, first-served seating, the team said. The United Center will then remain open until 3 p.m. for anyone "wishing to pay their respects."

Details from the team include:

  • Arrival & Entry: Guests should enter the United Center through Gates 6 and 7 on the south side of building, which will open at 9:30 a.m. for arrival.
  • Parking: Free parking will be available in Lot K with overflow lots to be opened as needed.

In lieu of flowers, the Wirtz family has asked for donations to be made to the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.

Wirtz, the chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, passed away after a brief illness Tuesday.

"Our hearts are very heavy today,” his son and Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in a statement. "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. 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, who was also the owner of the Wirtz Corp, which included Breakthru Beverage Group, took over as the owner in 2007 after his father Bill passed away. Rocky was the fifth principal owner in franchise history; his grandfather Arthur purchased a stake of the Blackhawks in 1950 and acquired majority ownership in 1966.

Wirtz immediately revitalized hockey in Chicago, which started by televising home games and spending money, whether it was inside the organization or for the on-ice product. Shortly after he took over, the Blackhawks' popularity exploded, they became a staple in outdoor games, and put together a dynastic run in the salary cap era by winning three Stanley Cups in six years.

"Being a Blackhawk all these years has been special because you felt you were part of a family. Not only with the players and the organization, but with the fans and the greater Chicago community," former Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said in a statement. "Rocky Wirtz led this example every day. I knew Rocky to be a humble, caring person. He showed how to be an incredible businessman that brought the emotion and excitement of 3 championships to Chicago, while maintaining the most genuine and sincere relationships with all those who worked for him. I owe so much to him and his family for making all of my dreams of being a professional hockey player come true. I am shocked and saddened to hear this news. My sympathy and heartfelt condolences to his wife Marilyn, his son Danny, and to the rest of the Wirtz family."

"Not only was Rocky Wirtz a great man and humble to the core, he was extremely loyal and generous to everyone, but especially to us players," former Blackhawks star Patrick Kane wrote. "He always made sure everything was first class for us. That mattered to him, just like winning and just like his family. My sympathy to his wife Marilyn, to his son Danny, and the entire Wirtz and Blackhawks family."

Wirtz hadn't made a public appearance since March 2022 when Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson was introduced as the permanent general manager. The appearance came a month after Wirtz made headlines for his comments about the Kyle Beach sexual assault scandal.

During Wirtz's tenure as chairman, the Blackhawks made the postseason 10 times, won 17 rounds, reached five Conference Finals and won three Stanley Cups.

"Throughout his accomplished life, Rocky wore many hats: a dedicated businessman, passionate philanthropist, die-hard Chicago sports lover, devoted family man, and, of course, an Illinois giant," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. "His contributions to the Land of Lincoln are far-reaching and all- encompassing--from uplifting the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup Championships to supporting thousands of Chicago families in need through the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. Rocky epitomized what it means to be an Illinoisan -always ready to lend a hand to a stranger. His absence leaves a gaping hole in our state and nation, but Rocky's extraordinary legacy will carry on in the thousands of lives that he touched and the hundreds of thousands of fans whose hopes he helped fulfill. To the love of his life, Marilyn, and his children Danny, Hillary, Kendall, and Elizabeth: the State of Illinois offers our deepest condolences and wishes you healing in light of this unimaginable tragedy. May his memory be a blessing."

Wirtz leaves behind his wife Marilyn, and children Danny (Anne) Wirtz, Hillary Wirtz (Erin Quaglia), Kendall (Brendan) Murphy, and Elizabeth Queen (Joe Barley), and six grandchildren.

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