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RELEASE: Blackhawks statement on passing of John A. Ziegler Jr.

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz has released the following statement on the passing of former NHL President, John A. Ziegler, Jr.:

"We mourn the passing of John Ziegler. His positive imprint on the game of hockey cannot ever be overstated. But more than that, John was a friend, to me and to my family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John and his family. While he will be missed, his legacy and contributions to our sport will carry on forever."

Earlier this morning the NHL released the following statement from Commissioner Gary Bettman:

"The NHL family was saddened to learn of the passing of former League President John Ziegler," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "From 1977 until 1992, as just the fourth President in NHL history, John oversaw the growth of the League from 18 to 24 teams, including the 1979 addition of four teams from the WHA. He was instrumental in the NHL's transition to becoming a more international League - during his tenure, the share of European-born players in the NHL grew from two to 11 percent, players from the former Soviet Union first entered the League and games between NHL and European Clubs became a nearly annual tradition.

"On a personal note, John provided invaluable counsel during my early days as Commissioner and was always generous with his time. His life of service to our game was recognized in 1984 with the awarding of the Lester Patrick Trophy and in 1987 with induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. On behalf of the NHL's Board of Governors, we extend our deepest sympathies to his entire family and many friends."

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