Rocky Wirtz inherited his family’s sports, entertainment, real estate, agribusiness, insurance, banking, and liquor distribution businesses in 2007.
Wirtz isn’t afraid to admit that he has a common touch. When his family bought the Chicago Blackhawks when he was two years old, he went to games with his grandfather or father, as do other fans. He grew up in the old Chicago Stadium. His current wife, children, and granddaughter continue the family tradition of attending games.
Rocky Wirtz is the owner and general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League. He is also the CEO of the Blackhawks’ parent company, the Wirtz Corporation, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate based in Chicago. He oversees the business and private land organizations of Wirtz Corporation, as well as a wine and spirits merchant (formerly Wirtz Beverage Group, now Breakthru Beverage Group), an insurance agency, and banks in Illinois and Florida.
Following his father’s death in 2007, he took over the Blackhawks. His change in board style was praised by fans, and in 2010, it led to the team’s first Stanley Cup victory since 1961. Arthur Wirtz, his grandfather, bought the Blackhawks in 1954. He is also a half-owner of the United Center, where the Blackhawks play their home games, along with Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He and Reinsdorf serve on the field’s Executive Committee as co-administrators.
Rocky’s responsibilities as President of Wirtz Corporation include everything from beverage distribution to financial services, insurance, and real estate. Rocky has maintained his family’s dedication to several civic and humanitarian groups throughout it all. He is relentless in his support for Chicago Blackhawks Charities. Chicago Blackhawks Charities, which his father founded, has given millions of dollars to dozens of groups that focus on youth programming, health and wellness, education, and housing. Wirtz Beverage Group is a renowned international distributor of luxury and premium wine, liquor, and beer brands from around the world. The corporation has operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Canada, and is headquartered in Chicago.
Rocky received a Lifetime Leadership Award from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America in 2014, in recognition of his significant accomplishments in the beverage industry. Rocky is also in charge of Wirtz Insurance and First Security Trust and Savings in Elmwood Park, Illinois, as well as First National Bank in South Miami in Florida. Those businesses have long been known for their customized financial solutions as well as for significant contributions to local communities and charities. Rocky is also a member of the National Hockey League’s Executive Committee and Co-Chairman of the Executive Committee of Chicago’s United Center. Rocky has received national attention for the numerous successes each organization has accomplished in the seven years after assuming these various leadership posts. Rocky is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago’s Civic Committee and a Trustee of The Field Museum of Natural History and Northwestern University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in communications in 1975.
Rocky has discovered business synergies among the several holdings of Wirtz Corporation. Just south of Chicago, Wirtz Beverage Illinois completed a 605,000-square-foot multi-use training and distribution complex in 2011, which contains corporate offices and the country’s largest temperature-controlled wine storage facility. In April 2014, the company opened a second location in Lexington, Illinois. Wirtz Realty is the developer behind both developments. Wirtz Realty owns and maintains a number of commercial and residential properties along Chicago’s lakefront and in the suburbs in addition to development.