Under leadership of Rocky Wirtz, son of former, late owner William Wirtz, the Chicago Blackhawks have demonstrated what Forbes dubbed “the greatest turnaround in sports business history.” Rocky’s management has led the organization through a complete revitalization; reversing team policies and practices, including the implementation of televising all games, and the addition of instrumental members, including John McDonough, former president of the Chicago Cubs; Coach Joel Quenneville; and the acquisition of star players Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
In 2010, Chicago’s revitalized hockey team ended the second longest Stanley Cup drought in NHL history, and went on to win the Cup three times within six seasons.
In his latest venture, Blackhawks Chairman Wirtz shares the untold story of the family empire — the rise, fall, and rebirth. Authored by Bryan Smith, “The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks” explores the intricacies of the Wirtz Corporation and their gripping family friction.
The Winnetka resident attended a book signing in his very own stomping grounds on Oct. 10. Nearly 150 guests arrived at Maze Home to meet Wirtz and buy “The Breakaway;” 450 copies were sold. When Wirtz was initially approached about the idea for the book, he had two requirements: the story must unveil the truth with no frills, and all proceeds must benefit the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
A number of familiar faces were in attendance, including Jay Blunk, Blackhawks’ executive vice president and his wife, Marci; Michael Golden, co-founder of @properties, and Kelly Golden, owner of Winnetka’s Neapolitan Collection boutique; Pat and Patsy Callahan; and many more.
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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.