Thursday, June 10, 2010
New ownership helped fuel the Blackhawks
By Richard Durrett
One thing Stars fans can take out of the Blackhawks winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup in 49 years is that new ownership can help reinvigorate an organization.
Let me first say that if you look at Tom Hicks' tenure with the Stars, you can only say that it was very successful. Under his ownership, the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and back to the Finals in 2000. That happened because Hicks hired the right people and spent some money to help build a winner. I think too many fans forget that with what's gone on the last few years.
But the upside is that new ownership can come in and give an organization a jolt. That's what Rocky Wirtz did for the Blackhawks when he took over for his father, Bill Wirtz, three years ago. Rocky got rid of many of his dad's old policies. He negotiated a deal to have home games on TV. He reached out to former players to make them ambassadors of the team and he made changes in the front office when necessary. The result: A team that made the playoffs in 2009 and then won the Stanley Cup in 2010.
I'm not saying I expect some new owner to come in and all of a sudden the Stars are winning a Stanley Cup. This team, at this point, has plenty of holes that need plugging and that takes time. Plus, I think any new owner isn't likey to come in and start spending a bunch of money right away. But there was a time when a full building was the norm at a Stars game. It can be that way again. (BTW, that's exactly what Hicks did for this club when he purchased them in the mid 1990s and created a winner).
And if the Blackhawks, a team that at times were annual bottom feeders, can come all the way back and win the Cup, the Stars can too.
BTW, a shout out to our sister web site, ESPNChicago.com, for the great job they did during the playoff run. Check out all of their coverage today here.