CHICAGO — Less than a week after his death, the Chicago Blackhawks have announced plans to publically honor their late owner.
It will happen at a place he helped turn into one of the best venues in all of the National Hockey League over the previous 16 years.
On Monday evening, the Blackhawks announced plans to honor late chairman Rocky Wirtz on Wednesday, August 9 at the United Center.
The event is expected to begin at 11 a.m. and will be open to the public, with first-come, first-serve seating for the formal ceremony. Once completed, the United Center will remain open to fans to pay their respects to the late owner, who died after a brief illness on July 25.
Fans attending the event can start doing so at 9:30 a.m. through Gates 6 & 7 on the south side of the United Center. Free parking will be available in Lot K with other lots opening as needed.
Per the Wirtz family’s request, donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, the official charity of the franchise.
The team also announced that a separate, private service for family and friends of Wirtz will take place on Tuesday, August 8.
Born in Chicago and a graduate of Northwestern University, Wirtz became the fifth principal owner in Blackhawks history in 2007 shortly after the death of his father Bill. He would remain the chairman of the NHL franchise along with Wirtz Corporation for nearly 16 years, overseeing the greatest on-ice era in franchise history.
The Blackhawks made nine-straight playoff appearances and won three Stanley Cups under Rocky’s guidance of the franchise. He was also instrumental in winning back old fans and alumni while also creating a base of new supporters with fan-friendly moves that were preceded by difficult years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.