Blackhawks owner dead at 77

Bill Wirtz, the notorious owner of the Chicago Blackhawks since 1954, has passed away at the age of 77.

I'm not here to pass judgment on him as an individual and family man, but let's be honest, his policies have held back the development of the Blackhawks as a modern NHL franchise for years. His policy of stifling local television coverage and shying away from paying for top talent have left untapped what could be one of the great hockey markets in North America. Chicago's a huge northern city with just the one NHL franchise (unlike the New York area) and they love their sports teams.

I have no idea what the succession plan is in the wake of "Dollar Bill's" passing, but the long-term prospects of the NHL in the U.S. look a little more hopeful this morning. Sad to say, but true.