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Guest Crymson

Blog: The Blackhawks still have serious financial difficulties

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Interesting read. All I have to say is lol. So much for the boasting about attendance numbers and a large fanbase; they still can't even break even without help from their parent corporation.

It's been a good time to be a Chicago Blackhawks fan. The renaissance of the franchise culminated in a Stanley Cup championship in June and despite being cap-strapped and having to say goodbye to some beloved players, there's still a good core on the roster for fans to expect Chicago to compete over the next several years.

Even with all the success on the ice and in the community, the business side of the Blackhawks is still slowly, make that very slowly, rebounding from the disastrous days of "Dollar" Bill Wirtz.

Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune has a fascinating read Friday about the business side of the Blackhawks. In the article, she details how ticket prices will jump 20 percent next season and move Chicago from second-cheapest in the NHL to top 10 most expensive. She also points out how a Stanley Cup, a sold out United Center and a fan base eating up as much Blackhawks merchandise as possible still hasn't stopped the franchise from losing money.

In fact, the Blackhawks ran out of cash last season. Several times.

"In a follow-up interview this week, Wirtz said that the Blackhawks ran out of cash several times last season. Each time, he received a memo, known as an internal capital call, in which the team requested money from Wirtz Corp., the Blackhawks' parent company, to cover operating expenses. And at the end of the season, Wirtz said he double-checked that the playoffs did not cover those losses; the franchise remained in the red, the team's accountant told him.

"We have multiple businesses and obviously we want every one to stand on its own," Wirtz said. "And what you don't want to do is manage one business from the profit of the other one."

But Wirtz pledged he would never revert to the penny-pinching ways of his father."

There's definitely no penny-pinching going on. Among those set to receive Stanley Cup rings next season include the team's interns. Expect to see some on eBay to help pay off college loans this fall.

The hole that Chicago was in before Bill Wirtz passed away in 2007 was deep. Wirtz told the Toronto Star that between 1997 and 2007 he lost $191 million, and $31 million during the 2006-07 season. Guess that idea of "not putting games on television" plan wasn't such a good one after all.

Even with two straight playoff runs, the revenue generated still wasn't enough and the Blackhawks continued losing money, but according to Rocky Wirtz, it's getting less and less. A Stanley Cup championship and the monstrous revenue that it brings in certainly helps put a small dent in their losses.

Revenue sharing is something that's hurt the Blackhawks. As Harris notes, regular season ticket revenue is Chicago's to keep, but for playoff games, the team has to give the NHL at least 50 percent of what a regular-season sellout would bring in, thus the need to raise prices come April.

Because the Blackhawks are privately owned, financial records cannot be accessed so it's unknown exactly how much the losses were, but Wirtz told Harris with the success of the team now, getting out of the red and into the black is a goal that can be reached and the franchise is closer to getting it's head above water.

RememberStevieY likes this

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But they have the same core! And it is younger and will stomp all over Detroits core! And and and the Red Wings are old and stuff!

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Actually, I think the Hawks will still have a good team, because their core and stars are together.

You obviously need good role players in order to win in the playoffs, but good teams have shown that role players can be plugged into a good system and still succeed. I think they'll be able to do that, so lets not get too excited about them being f***ed or anything.

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Actually, I think the Hawks will still have a good team, because their core and stars are together.

You obviously need good role players in order to win in the playoffs, but good teams have shown that role players can be plugged into a good system and still succeed. I think they'll be able to do that, so lets not get too excited about them being f***ed or anything.

Aside from Khabibulin, Tampa's core remained largely intact as well. As did Carolina's. And Anaheim's.

Edited by Hockeytown0001

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Aside from Khabibulin, Tampa's core remained largely intact as well. As did Carolina's. And Anaheim's.

Oh I'm not saying they'll repeat, but I think they'll fare better than those others teams in the next few years.

I may be wrong, but I think they'll be a good team, although not as good as last year.

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<br />Oh I'm not saying they'll repeat, but I think they'll fare better than those others teams in the next few years.  <br /><br />I may be wrong, but I think they'll be a good team, although not as good as last year.

I agree with that for sure, I can not see them flopping like that. I can see them having to work a lot harder as individuals and will feel a lot more pressure to produce (sorry Hoss) but unless Bowman is more of an idiot then I'm already starting to believe, they will be in contention for a shot at keeping the cup....Won't imo, but will be in contention.

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if they have those financial issues will they still want to park Huet's ass in the AHL? pay $5 million to stash a goalie there?

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Oh I'm not saying they'll repeat, but I think they'll fare better than those others teams in the next few years.

I may be wrong, but I think they'll be a good team, although not as good as last year.

They'll be a competitive team and will make the playoffs, but that's about it IMO.

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I would expect to see quite a few retreads and never will be's on the 3rd and 4th line and 3rd defense pairing. Training camp will welcome back a few familiar faces in Dirk Graham, Eric Daze, Mike Peluso and camp invitee Clarence 'Screaming Buffalo' Swamptown

thedisappearer and Jamessss like this

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Oh I'm not saying they'll repeat, but I think they'll fare better than those others teams in the next few years.

I may be wrong, but I think they'll be a good team, although not as good as last year.

I haven't seen anything in their management to suggests to me that they can sustain success. I rate them as one of the top worst managed franchises in league. Not saying they are bottom feeders, but they could have rivaled Detroit in terms of winning success for the next 10+ years. But seeing how poorly managed they are and so freely giving out big contracts, and then giving away excellent players/depth that made them good and helped them win the cup for okay players... then trading the okay players straight up for 30 yo old career AHL players.

Yeah, I don't think Chicago has the management or ownership to build a sustainable successful team. They just won the cup with all their top picks they accumulated from sucking for 75+ years.... and still can't even turn a profit.

Edited by Heaten

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I haven't seen anything in their management to suggests to me that they can sustain success. I rate them as one of the top worst managed franchises in league. Not saying they are bottom feeders, but they could have rivaled Detroit in terms of winning success for the next 10+ years. But seeing how poorly managed they are and so freely giving out big contracts, and then giving away excellent players/depth that made them good and helped them win the cup for okay players... then trading the okay players straight up for 30 yo old career AHL players.

Yeah, I don't think Chicago has the management or ownership to build a sustainable successful team. They just won the cup with all their top picks they accumulated from sucking for 75+ years.... and still can't even turn a profit.

You do realize Scotty Bowman is pulling the strings, right? Just about all of the contract mistakes were handled by Dale Tallon, who is the Florida GM now.

if they have those financial issues will they still want to park Huet's ass in the AHL? pay $5 million to stash a goalie there?

Obviously they decided they are willing to eat Huet's salary. There wouldn't be enough cap room to have Huet on the roster and field an NHL legal team. If they weren't willing to bury Huet in Europe or the AHL, then another salary would have been traded.

As for the rest...you guys understand what cooking the books or creative accounting is I assume? Wirtz owns 50% of the United Center, but it's not the Blackhawks that officially own the UC. So the Blackhawks pay rent to their owner to use the UC. Understand? This shows as a loss for the Hawks, but it's not. It's just Wirtz giving his own money back to himself via a seperate company.

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Aside from Khabibulin, Tampa's core remained largely intact as well. As did Carolina's. And Anaheim's.

I can't believe people are STILL making these comparisons.

What second line did those teams have that was as good as Sharp/Hossa/Brouwer

What second defensive pairings did they have that were better than Hjalmarsson/Campbell. s***, what first pairings did they have that were even close to Keith/Seabrook.

At worst, the Blackhawks will have 2 very good lines and 2 very good defensive pairings. That alone (barring significant injury) will get them into the postseason.

The problem will be in the playoffs, but w have no idea what will happen before then and who will improve or get worse. Don't forget how young Toews and Kane are.

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Fixed it for you.

Thanks! :D

I would expect to see quite a few retreads and never will be's on the 3rd and 4th line and 3rd defense pairing. Training camp will welcome back a few familiar faces in Dirk Graham, Eric Daze, Mike Peluso and camp invitee Clarence 'Screaming Buffalo' Swamptown

OK… this is funny.

You do realize Scotty Bowman is pulling the strings, right?

Don't misunderstand me, I adore Bowman as the hockey god he is… but he's renowned as a coach from the pre-cap era, not a GM during the cap era. It's a key distinction. He may still piss excellence, but it's not for sure.

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Doesn't matter at all. Rich people love sports teams because if they make money you make money, and if they lose money you basically get to pay less money to the government.

Besides they will make more money unless for some reason the fall completely apart. :D

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You do realize Scotty Bowman is pulling the strings, right? Just about all of the contract mistakes were handled by Dale Tallon, who is the Florida GM now.

False and still false. Tallon didn't want Hossa for 112 years. Tallon didn't trade one of their best playoff performers, top PK defensemen and their meanest hitter in the playoffs for Reasoner and some late 1st and 2nd picks (mind you in reportedly the thinnest draft year in 20 years). Then trade Reasoner (who was their best player Hawks acquired this offseason) was traded straight up for a 30 year old career AHLer.

In a thread on the Blackhawks forum they said it was under Stan Bowman that the offersheets were failed to be mailed in on time. It was also under Stan Bowman's watch that they failed to give Hossa a physical.

*If* Scotty is "pulling strings" like you suggest (which I highly doubt), then he seriously needs to retire. He's losing his mind and should retire immediately to save face for all he's accomplished. - I'm pretty sure Scotty Bowman said in an interview that he doesn't get involved. I'll believe him over you.

I'll echo what I previously said. Blackhawks is one of the top worst managed franchises in the league. If not for having sucking for all these year to bank on their #1 and top picks, they wouldn't have won the cup. Their timing was lucky with having the salary cap. Now the salary cap is ruining them because of poor management.

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I can't believe people are STILL making these comparisons.

What second line did those teams have that was as good as Sharp/Hossa/Brouwer

Brouwer isn't so good. In any event, the Ducks indeed didn't have the firepower on the 2nd line after McDonald was traded to free up space for Niedermayer (this was a terrible move, IMO). The line was Bertuzzi - Weight - Selanne in the playoffs, which wasn't so great. In any event, though, please stop pretending that Brouwer is some sort of superstar. He isn't; he's 25 years old, and he has scored 20 goals once. Remember, too, that Hossa was not a producer in the playoffs.

What second defensive pairings did they have that were better than Hjalmarsson/Campbell. s***, what first pairings did they have that were even close to Keith/Seabrook.

Pronger - Beauchemin

Niedermayer - Schneider

At the most, the Hawks get a very slight edge here, because Schneider had a terrible first season with the Ducks. On second though, though, he was even then far superior to Hjalmarsson offensively. Moving on, the Beauchemin of those days was easily the equal of today's Campbell; and Pronger and Niedermayer were both excellent players.

Homer.

I see you're omitting goaltending, as Giguere/Bryzgalov far, FAR beats out whatever goaltending tandem the Hawks will be able to produce this season.

Further, the ducks had an extremely successful shutdown line of Pahlsson, Moen and Niedermayer. The Hawks have nothing to match this; indeed, they'll have nothing in the way of productive third and fourth lines at all! All of those lines will be filled with scrubs.

At worst, the Blackhawks will have 2 very good lines and 2 very good defensive pairings. That alone (barring significant injury) will get them into the postseason.

Yeah, that really doesn't bear out in practice. If your top two lines are shut down, or if players are slumping, etc. etc. etc., and if you have no secondary scoring to back them up, you're screwed. Further, your defense isn't invincible. While Seabrook - Keith is very good, your second defensive pairing is not "very good", but rather only above average. Hjalmarsson isn't worth $3.5m, and Campbell is a defensive imbecile. Finally, the team will---by all looks---be playing in front of a very average goaltending tandem.

The problem will be in the playoffs, but w have no idea what will happen before then

What, like the possibility that the Hawks won't make the playoffs at all?

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False and still false. Tallon didn't want Hossa for 112 years. Tallon didn't trade one of their best playoff performers, top PK defensemen and their meanest hitter in the playoffs for Reasoner and some late 1st and 2nd picks (mind you in reportedly the thinnest draft year in 20 years). Then trade Reasoner (who was their best player Hawks acquired this offseason) was traded straight up for a 30 year old career AHLer.

In a thread on the Blackhawks forum they said it was under Stan Bowman that the offersheets were failed to be mailed in on time. It was also under Stan Bowman's watch that they failed to give Hossa a physical.

*If* Scotty is "pulling strings" like you suggest (which I highly doubt), then he seriously needs to retire. He's losing his mind and should retire immediately to save face for all he's accomplished. - I'm pretty sure Scotty Bowman said in an interview that he doesn't get involved. I'll believe him over you.

I'll echo what I previously said. Blackhawks is one of the top worst managed franchises in the league. If not for having sucking for all these year to bank on their #1 and top picks, they wouldn't have won the cup. Their timing was lucky with having the salary cap. Now the salary cap is ruining them because of poor management.

No offense, but you don't know what you're talking about. While the Hossa signing can be disputed over whether Bowman or Tallon was behind it, Tallon was still the GM. Reportedly Tallon wanted Havlat back instead of Hossa, and that would have been a cap hit of at least 4 mil. Not much difference, though I think you all would agree there is a big difference between Hossa and Havlat as players. Tallon was also the GM when the restricted free agent gaffs happened. It was even cited as a contributing factor for him being fired by the Hawks.

Beyond all that, I don't hink any Hawk fans feel Hossa is the problem with the cap. If he was, he could have easily been traded this offseason with his cap friendly deal.

The problems were many and many came at once. Namely Kane, Hjalmarsson, Toews and Keith all emerging as stars and RFA's in the same year. Beyond that, two Dale Tallon signings are killing the Hawks. Cristobal Huet of course. And then there's the abomination of a contract that Dale Tallon gave to Brian Campbell. Campbell is ridiculously overpaid and is probably untradable for several more years.

So to sum this up...the salary cap problems were mostly inherited by Stan Bowman from Dale Tallon, with some of them just being life in the salary cap era when you have a ton of good young players.

The Hawks had to let go of big contributers to win the cup. There was no way around it. Unless you're suggesting they should have traded Toews, Kane or Keith instead of Buff? lol

BTW Kane and Toews were #1 and #3 picks in their respective drafts. No other Hawks were drafted by the Hawks in the top 10 of the draft from the cup winning team. So your 'all these years of banking on top picks' comment is obviously silly.

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