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Please, God, let it be so

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Chi City 81, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    If this were to happen, I might just start following the NHL again.

    Wirtz threatens sale of Blackhawks

    But it's unlikely, despite potential players' union issues

    By Bob Foltman
    Tribune staff reporter

    April 20, 2007, 8:29 PM CDT

    In a story published in Friday's Toronto Star, Bill Wirtz said he would consider selling the Blackhawks if the NHL Players Association installs a labor hard-liner as its new executive director.

    "If the union hired someone like [former director Bob Goodenow], who just says you're lying whenever you say you're losing money, I'd put the team up for sale," Wirtz told the Star.

    "And I think that might cause other owners to look at their own investments."

    The leadership of the NHL Players Association is in disarray. Its current leader, Ted Saskin, is on paid suspension and unlikely to reclaim his job.

    Saskin replaced Goodenow after the settlement of the lockout that forced the cancellation of the 2004-05 season. The events surrounding Saskin replacing Goodenow have been disputed by a group of players, which has led to an outside investigation.

    Goodenow, a nemesis of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners, was adamant in his refusal to accept a cap on players salaries. Goodenow repeatedly questioned the owners' claims of the amount of money they were losing.

    In the end, Saskin ended up negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement, which included a cap on salaries and guaranteed players a percentage of revenues. Shortly after the agreement was signed, Goodenow resigned from the players' association, although a recent story in SportsBusiness Journal says Goodenow was fired before the CBA was done.

    Wirtz has threatened to sell the team before. In an interview with the Tribune before the lockout, Wirtz said he would consider selling if a new economic framework with the players wasn't negotiated.

    Wirtz, 77, became president of the Hawks in 1966. His father, Arthur, purchased the team in 1954.

    Wirtz declined to comment further Friday. Blackhawks spokesman Jim DeMaria said: "In no way, shape or form is Mr. Wirtz saying that he's going to be selling the Blackhawks."

    Just how much the Hawks are worth is not known, but an estimate would be $250 million to $300 million. But Wirtz also owns a share of the United Center.

    Even if he were to sell the Hawks, it would be highly unlikely Wirtz would sell his share of the profitable arena, which opened in 1994. It's doubtful someone would be interested in buying the hockey team and not get a portion of the building.

    After another non-playoff season—the ninth in the last 10—and a continued decline in attendance since the end of the lockout, Wirtz told the Sun that the Hawks lost $31 million this season. Last summer Wirtz said the Hawks lost $20 million for the 2005-06 season.

    In Anaheim on Thursday for the Anaheim-Minnesota playoff game, Bettman said in a TV interview that most teams are either making money or breaking even under the new CBA, and that the ones that are losing money are losing less than they were before the lockout.
  2. KnuteRockne

    KnuteRockne Member

    I sure hope so. I was a Hawks fanatic growing up. Loved going to the Stadium more than anywhere else in Chicago - the Hawks were more popular than the Cubs in the early '90s. Seriously.

    And that old SOB has squandered every last bit of good will he ever had.

    Most tone-deaf owner in sports. Not even close.
  3. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Even Harold Ballard is telling him to lighten up.
  4. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    I've heard this anecdote about Wirtz and it bears repeating: A couple years ago, he was interviewing candidates to replace Bob Pulford as GM. One candidate presented an in-depth plan how the 'Hawks could win a Stanley Cup. He'd replace the older scouts with younger ones. They'd shell out for the Center Ice package so he and his staff could pick out players that they would trade for. They'd be players in free agency.

    10 or 15 minutes later, Wirtz stopped the candidate and said, "Winning a Stanley Cup costs too much money."
  5. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    I was never big into hockey and when I was growing up, living in the Chicago area, it was during the Bulls' heyday.

    But I remember something to the effect that Wirtz never showed the Blackhawks' home games on TV, because he wanted people to come to the game... am I remembering that correctly?
  6. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Who are the Blackhawks?
  7. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Yes. He still doesn't show home games on TV, even though no one goes.
  8. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    That headline is similar to Santa Claus threatening to bring everyone presents again for Christmas.
  9. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Wait -- people outside of Chicago are aware of the incompetence and asshattery of the Wirtz clan? Damn, I guess word gets around. :D
  10. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    An ECHL club called up to the big leagues.

    Seriously though, I would've loved to have seen a Hawks game at old Chicago Stadium. But alas, I'm too young to have made it myself and the 'rents weren't going to take me.
  11. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

  12. D-3 Fan

    D-3 Fan Well-Known Member

    Jerry Reinsdorf the the Tribune Co. thinks that's fucked up.
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