"This is for everyone who is a part of our organization, especially our fans, and everyone who came before us," Wirtz told FanHouse.
His reaction when Patrick Kane scored at 4:06 of overtime to end the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup drought at 49 years?
"Like a lot of people, I didn't see it," Wirtz said with a laugh. "I saw Patrick celebrate, but I wasn't sure. I looked at the TV in our box to see if NBC had it. To be honest with you, the whole scene was just a blur. Everyone just started jumping around and hugging each other around me. All I kept saying was, 'I can't believe we just won the darn Stanley Cup.'"
William Rockwell "Rocky" Wirtz, more than anyone else, brought the Chicago Blackhawks back to the top of the National Hockey League. When his father William, the team's owner and president for 41 years, passed away in 2007, his son Peter almost immediately gave the keys to the franchise to his brother Rocky. The new chairman of the board hired Chicago Cubs president John McDonough and the two made dramatic alterations to the on- and off-ice business of the Blackhawks.
As the team added captain Jonathan Toews and Game 6 overtime hero Patrick Kane via the draft, smart marketing and fan-friendly customer relations improved the Blackhawks' season ticket base from 3,000 to 14,000. Soon the United Center was the Madhouse on Madison again, just like the legendary Chicago Stadium.
"When we took over," Rocky Wirtz said during the Stanley Cup celebration, "there was no question in my mind we could turn around the franchise. But our goals were even higher. I said there there was no reason why we couldn't become the premier franchise in all of sports. I have been very proud of John and the hockey staff and our entire staff's efforts to work together and get us back on the map. Now with this Stanley Cup championship, I feel that we can reach our goal of being the premier franchise."
Wirtz acknowledged the contributions of homegrown draft picks Toews, the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, along with overtime hero Kane, but the Blackhawks owner seemed equally proud of his staff's ability to add players to the young core.
"Look at our free agents," said Wirtz. "Brian Campbell was a big step for us, proved to the fans that we were serious about winning. And I'm so happy for Brian because he was seriously injured and came back to play a lot of important minutes for us. We have some big-name players, but look at the role players and how we got them by signing them or drafting them in the later rounds. Most of all, look at Antti Niemi. The Stanley Cup-winning goaltender is a player we signed from Finland just a couple of years ago."
Now Wirtz knows for sure. Like almost every move he has made since taking over the Blackhawks, the owner and chairman got it right.