Danny Wirtz Talks About Culture, Change and Leading the Rebuilding Blackhawks Organization

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Danny Wirtz Talks About Culture, Change and Leading the Rebuilding Blackhawks Organization

Chicago Blackhawks

During the upheaval in the Blackhawks organization during the pandemic that followed the surprising (at the time) departure of John McDonough, Danny Wirtz assumed the role of CEO. He’s the fourth member of the Wirtz family to be the top voice in the club, following his father, Rocky, in the role.

He recently sat down with Salvi Media as part of their “CEO Series” to discuss being a CEO, the Blackhawks organization, and his other roles in the Chicago community.

The video doesn’t break any ground when it comes to new information about Wirtz or the Blackhawks. When we hear him talk about the important decisions filtering up to the top (read: him), there are a couple dozen questions that likely could have followed, but the video bounces to asking about how important food and beverage selections are to the fan experience.

However, about 2:30 into the video the question “What do you look for when hiring?” is asked. Wirtz said the first trait he looks for is humility.

“We have a very low ego culture,” he said.

Cough John McDonough Say What?

Look, the Blackhawks are absolutely going through one of the more painful, introspective reorganizing seasons (not 82-games, but a period of time) in sports that I can remember. Since Danny took over for his father, he’s been tasked with effectively burning the entire business operation to the ground and starting over, and some of the decisions made by the organization have drawn a lot of scrutiny (see: Edzo’s departure).

So when he goes out of his way to say he’s looking to develop a “low ego culture” in the Blackhawks organization, I think we all understand this is a seismic shift from where his father’s culture change was when he assumed the top spot in the organization.

Danny doubles down on the importance of culture in this mashup of other interviews in the series, answering an important question: What’s the hardest lesson these CEOs have learned in their respective careers?

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab