It's Been A Luongo Time Coming

Chris Murphy@@SeeMurphsTweetsAnalyst IMay 12, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 11:  (L-R) Niklas Hjalmarsson #4, Troy Brouwer #22, Patrick Kane #88 and Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after Kane scored his second goal of the game in the third period against the Vancouver Canucks during Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 11, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Kane went on to record a hat trick in the Blackhawks' 7-5 victory.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As I watched the Chicago Blackhawks continually push the puck passed Roberto Luongo and completely shock the hockey world moving onto the Western Conference finals at a pub on the south side of Chicago, I could not help but wish this meant more to me. 

I've heard my uncle tell stories about the Chicago Blackhawks that seem like ghost stories to me.  I was the product of a generation completely deprived of hockey in Chicago thanks to a president who did not respect the fans nor the game: "Dollar" Bill Wirtz.

If you are in your 20s or early 30s in Chicago then you barely knew the city had a hockey team until last season; if that. 

Under the 41-year reign of Bill Wirtz, the Blackhawks home games were not shown on television unless they were picked up by a national broadcaster, which didn't happen unless the Blackhawks made the playoffs.

Wirtz felt playing the home games on television was unfair to ticket-holders, something no other president anywhere has ever thought.  Communist leaders don't think like that. 

Wirtz even attempted to create a pay-per-view channel for the Blackhawks' home games called Hawkvision which was $29.95 a month.

All this and we have not even mentioned one thing about his moves concerning hockey.  Wirtz was blamed for a number of mishaps concerning players on the Blackhawks.  Actually not just players, hall of famers. 

Wirtz was blamed for allowing Bobby Hully to leave the Blackhawks and the NHL for the World Hockey Association, the loss of Dominik Hasek and Ed Belfour and trading Denis Savard, Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick and Phil Esposito. 

All this while containing the second longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL and the longest in team history.  He did a great job at being a terrible president.

In 2004, ESPN voted the Chicago Blackhawks the worst franchise in sports and in 2002, ESPN voted Wirtz as the third greediest owner in sports.

Wirtz died of cancer in 2007.  During a tribute and moment of silence for him during the Blackhawks home opener on October 8, 2007, the Chicago crowd showed just how much they would miss him by booing the entire proceeding. 

Dry your eyes, Chicago,  two years later the Blackhawks are in the Western Conference Finals and I'm afraid most from my generation barely appreciate it.  The apple fell extremely far from the tree in the form of Rocky Wirtz who has re-built this team and this city the right way.

I do not blame my generation for not loving or even knowing about hockey, however, now is the time to commit to the Indian.

As a child, you get into sports by seeing players on television.  This leads to the purchasing of tickets, cards, jerseys and other products associated with your favorite team.  Why would anyone purchase tickets to see players they have never heard of? 

Ask Bill Wirtz, if you're ever traveling through hell.


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