Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, apologized late Wednesday night after a heated exchange with Chicago media during a town hall event.
Athletic’s Mark Lazerus has asked Blackhawks chief executive Danny Wirtz about what the team would do to ensure that another situation that led to the cover-up of sexual abuse allegations made by former player Kyle Beach never materialized would not happen again.
Lazarus said: “I know we’re looking ahead here, but I think we need to look back too. I think a lot of what happened to Kyle Beach stems from a power imbalance between a coach and a player and the powerlessness of a player in that situation. So, what do the Blackhawks do, what did the Blackhawks do, what will the Blackhawks do to empower a player in a similar situation to make sure it does not happen again? “
Rocky Wirtz jumped in and answered the question for his son, saying: “I think the report speaks for itself. The people who were involved are no longer here. We are not looking back to 2010, we are looking ahead. And we’re not going to talk about 2010.
“If anyone in the company asks that question, we’ll answer it,” Wirtz continued. “And I think you have to move on to the next subject. We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We’re not going to talk about anything that happened. Now we go on. What more do I have to say? ”
Phillip Thompson of the Chicago Tribune followed up on a similar question, just to follow up another fiery discussion.
Danny Wirtz and business president Jaime Faulkner spent most of the pre-incident meeting talking about the Blackhawks’ commitment to doing things a better way forward.
Wirtz later released a statement saying, “Tonight, at the Chicago Blackhawks City Hall, my response to two questions crossed the line,” Wirtz said in a release. “I want to apologize to the fans and those reporters, and I regret that my response has overshadowed the great work that this organization is doing to move forward. We have the right leaders and the right processes in place to create a safe environment for to create our employees and players. ”
An investigation by the firm Jenner & Block has revealed that allegations of sexual assault against former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich have been investigated. According to the investigation, the Blackhawks were aware of the allegations and decided not to address them before the end of the 2010 Stanley Cup play-offs, where the matter was not discussed again.
Former GM Stan Bowman – who was also the GM at the time of the abuse in 2010 – resigned from the club earlier in the season after the review was revealed by Jenner & Block. The Blackhawks have yet to find a permanent replacement.