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Blackhawks Owner Apologies for Comments About Kyle Beach

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz berated a pair of reporters on Wednesday evening at a town hall event before later apologizing.
Rocky Wirtz

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz issued an apology late Wednesday night after a heated exchange with Chicago media during a town hall event.

The Athletic's Mark Lazerus asked Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz about what the team would do to ensure another situation that resulted in the cover-up of sexual abuse allegations made by former player Kyle Beach would never happen again. 

Lazarus said: "I know we're looking forward here, but I think we have to look back, also. I think much of what happened to Kyle Beach stemmed from a power imbalance between a coach and a player and the powerlessness of a player in that situation. So, what are the Blackhawks doing, what have the Blackhawks done, what will the Blackhawks do to empower a player in a similar situation to make sure that doesn't happen again?"

Rocky Wirtz stepped in and answered the question for his son, saying: “I think the report speaks for itself. The people that were involved are no longer here. We're not looking back at 2010, we're looking forward. And we're not going to talk about 2010.

“If somebody in the company asks that question, we'll answer it,” Wirtz continued. “And I think you should get 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're moving on. What more do I have to say?”

Phillip Thompson of the Chicago Tribune followed up with a similar question, only to lead to another heated discussion.

Danny Wirtz and business president Jaime Faulkner spent most of the meeting prior to the incident talking about the Blackhawks' commitment to do things in a better way moving forward.

Wirtz later went on to release a statement, saying: “Tonight, at the Chicago Blackhawks town 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 overshadowed the great work this organization is doing to move forward. We have the right leaders and right processes in place to create a safe environment for our employees and players.”

An investigation by the firm Jenner & Block revealed that looked into claims of sexual assault against former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich. According to the investigation, the Blackhawks were aware of the allegations and decided to not address them until the end of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, where the matter was not discussed again. 

Former GM Stan Bowman – who was also the GM at the time of the abuse back in 2010 – resigned from the club earlier in the season after the review by Jenner & Block was revealed. The Blackhawks have yet to find a permanent replacement.

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