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updated: 6/25/2013 2:05 PM

Thanks to Wirtz, players' families saw history

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  • Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz

    Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz
    Associated Press/file


BOSTON -- The Blackhawks' way used to mean practicing with less than a full complement of players because Bill Wirtz wouldn't pay to fly in another player from the minors.

Now, Brent Seabrook goes out of his way while celebrating the Stanley Cup to thank owner Rocky Wirtz for renting a plane to fly the players' families to Boston for Game 6 so they could witness the Cup-clinching performance in person.

That is now the Blackhawks' way of doing things.

It's still amazing to think of how far the organization has come, and it's worth remembering that Rocky Wirtz stayed away from the team the last few years of his father's life because he didn't want to be associated with how the team was being run.

"My father and my brother ran the team and I wasn't really welcome to be around," Wirtz said Monday night at TD Garden while celebrating his second Cup in four seasons. "I knew we had to make some tough decisions and it wasn't going to happen until some other things changed.''

The big change was Rocky taking over the team, putting John McDonough in charge and then letting the hockey people do what they had to do to become successful.

"We had to make some choices that weren't very popular and they were painful to make," McDonough said. "But Rocky told us to do what was necessary, and he allowed us to put people in place to make this a lasting and successful organization.

"What we have now is a great organization, with so many great people. There's dozens and dozens of people who make this happen, but none of it works without Rocky. He hires people and he lets them work.

"I'm really proud to work for him and I'm proud of what the franchise has been able to do. I never thought it could be better than the first one but this one is better.

"It's so hard to win one and it's harder to win two. The Cup is a little heavier than it was last time, too."

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