Rocky Wirtz - The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks

Join us at The Book Stall (811 Elm Street in Winnetka, IL) at 6:30 PM on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, as Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and Hockey Hall of Famer Tony Esposito discuss and sign copies of The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks. Please note that Mr. Wirtz and Mr. Esposito will only sign copies of The Breakaway, not any other hockey memorabilia. While this is a free event, we ask that you buy your copy of The Breakaway at The Book Stall if you intend on entering the book-signing queue.

When Rocky Wirtz took over the Wirtz Corporation in 2007, the fiercely beloved Chicago Blackhawk hockey team were chronic losers playing to a deserted stadium. They were worse than bad—they were irrelevant. ESPN named the franchise the worst in all of sports. Rocky's resurrection of the team's fortunes was—publicly, at least—a feel-good tale of shrewd acumen. Behind the scenes, however, it would trigger a father, son, and brother-against-brother drama of Shakespearean proportions. The Breakaway, written with Mr. Wirtz's input and cooperation, reveals that untold story.

“Win or lose, the Chicago Blackhawks are woven into the fabric of the great city. They matter. So, too, this book by Bryan Smith, one of the nation’s best storytellers. Deeply researched, compelling, and beautifully written, call it what it is—a hat trick.” —Tom Hallman Jr., author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

William Rockwell "Rocky" Wirtz is the principal owner and chairman of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. He is also president of the Blackhawks' parent company, Wirtz Corporation, a diversified conglomerate headquartered in Chicago.

Wirtz oversees Wirtz Corporation's commercial and residential real estate companies, wine distributor Wirtz Beverage Group, an insurance company, and banks in Illinois and Florida. Wirtz is also half-owner of the Blackhawks' home arena, the United Center, along with Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He and Reinsdorf are co-chairmen of the arena's Executive Committee. Mr. Wirtz graduated from North Shore Country Day School and Northwestern University.

Author Bryan Smith is a senior writer at Chicago magazine and a contributing editor for Men's Health. A two-time winner and six-time finalist for the National City and Regional Magazine Association's Writer of the Year award, his work has been featured in The Best American Sports WritingThe Best American Newspaper Writing, and theChicken Soup for the Soul series.

Anthony James "Tony OEsposito is a retired Canadian-American professional ice hockey goaltender, who played in the National Hockey League, most notably for the Chicago Black Hawks. He was one of the pioneers of the now popular butterfly style. Tony is the younger brother of Phil Esposito, a center. Both brothers had notable careers and are enshrined in the . In 2017 Esposito was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

For more information on this event, or to reserve a signed copy of The Breakaway, please reach out to The Book Stall, 847-446-8880,



Event date: 

Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Event address: 

The Book Stall
811 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093
The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks (Second to None: Chicago Stories) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780810138889
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: Northwestern University Press - October 1st, 2018

“This is a terrific book, a dramatic family saga told in artful prose and filled with emotional turmoil, a few surprisingly touching moments but enough dysfunction for a couple of Eugene O’Neill plays.” —Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune

When Rocky Wirtz took over the Wirtz Corporation in 2007, including management of the Chicago Blackhawks, the fie