Blackhawks owner irked by questions about Beach

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8:59 PM ET

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz shut down questions about fallout surrounding the Kyle Beach scandal that has embroiled the organization for much of the last year.

During a town hall with fans on Wednesday, one reporter asked the assembled panel, which include Wirtz and Blackhawks’ CEO Danny Wirtz, about how Chicago intended to avoid any power imbalances between players and coaches in the future, like the one Beach negatively endured in 2010.

Beach, a former first-round pick by the Blackhawks in 2008, filed a lawsuit in May 2021 against Chicago alleging a prolonged sexual assault by the team’s former video coach, Brad Aldrich, back in 2010. An independent investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block concluded that “nothing was done” by senior leaders to prevent the harassment Beach faced, and Chicago fired general manager Stan Bowman, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac and others because of what Jenner & Block unearthed.

The Blackhawks ultimately resolved their lawsuit with Beach in December via a confidential settlement.

In his heated exchange during Wednesday’s panel, Wirtz made it clear he’s not willing to revisit the past.

“I think the report speaks for itself,” Wirtz said. “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.”

When pressed again to discuss the Blackhawks’ plans to protect players in the future, Wirtz doubled-down further.

“What we’re going to do today is our business. I don’t think it’s any your business,” Wirtz said. “Because I don’t think it’s your business. You don’t work for the company. If someone in the company asked that question, we’ll answer it 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.

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“We’re moving on. You want to keep asking the same question? What more do I have to say? You want to hear the same answer? What’s your next question?”

Another reporter followed up and questioned why the Blackhawks pledged transparency in the process of hiring a new general manager but refused to answer a question about recovering from the Beach scandal.

“I answered (that question),” Wirtz said. “I told you to get off the subject. We’re not going to talk about the report (on Beach). We read it. We’re moving on. I think you’re out of line. I don’t like your questions. Why don’t you ask about something else? Why don’t you ask about the GM search? Or something else? Why do you bring up old business?”

Wirtz didn’t speak again during the remainder of the panel, which wrapped up shortly after his second outburst.

The Blackhawks are deep in the process of hiring a general manager to replace Bowman. Earlier in the night, Danny Wirtz touched on how that was unfolding so far.

“There is no right answer in terms of timing on these things,” Wirtz said of hiring Bowman’s successor. “We don’t do this every day. I think we’ve afforded ourselves a little bit of time to get this right. And no matter what was going to happen, we were going to hire a general manager not for the 2021-22 season, but for the long term. We have a lot of conversations around structure … and we’re going to have clear accountability with our general manager. I’m really excited that the new leader will bring in and build around them.

“We want our organization to be productive and get the job done.”

Source: ESPN NHL

    

Author: Ellen Garcia