A Rocky Rocky Road
Blackhawks fans: Wow. As I sat down to watch the “Town Hall”, I was hopeful and prepared to hear my favorite sports organization right a ship that had been set on fire by some poor play and even worse business management. By now all have heard about the scandal that rocked the Blackhawks back in May of 2021. If you haven’t, a former Blackhawk Kyle Beach filed a lawsuit alleging sexual assault by a member of the coaching staff. This member was later identified as Brad Aldrich, a convicted sex offender in the state of Michigan. Fast forward to today, the Hawks have now settled in court and are in the process of hiring their future general manager and Coach.
As Eddie Olczyk, Jamie Faulkner, Danny Wirtz, and Danny’s father the Chairman Rocky Wirtz sat down for today’s town hall it begun with a discussion of Youth Hockey, Pat Foley’s retirement, and the overall process that the Hawks want to take in this hiring process. Danny mentioned the Blackhawks have only had 10 general managers in franchise history and for a team that will be approaching the hundred-year mark in this decade, it’s impressive. However, as much as I want to be discussing who could possibly be the next head of this front office, drama could not be avoided. After opening the panel to some fan questions, Olczyk asked a few
members of the media for some questions. It then led to this question from Mark Lazerus of the Athletic, “My question is for Danny. I know we’re looking forward, but I think we have to look back, also. I think much of what happened to Kyle Beach stemmed from the 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?”. Before Danny could respond his Father Rocky decided he would answer this one with this following statement, “I’m going to answer that question, not Danny. 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.”. The conversation continued with Lazerus implying that he wasn’t talking about 2010, Rocky responded and was followed by a short, attempted input by his son Danny “I can pick up, too, what we are doing today, and I think…” before Rocky cut him off saying “No, that’s none of your business That’s none of your business. What we’re going to do today is our business. I don’t think it’s any of your business.” Lazerus then asked, “How is it not my business?” with Rocky finishing the conversation with “Because I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t work for the company. If somebody in the company asks 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. Now we’re moving on. What more do I have to say? You want to keep asking the same question? Ask the next question.”.
Unfortunately, this occurred again when Philip Thompson from the Chicago Tribune tried asking a question with a similar topic. As someone who was sitting on my couch watching, I was sweating and very uncomfortable, so I could not imagine being in the room. For the Blackhawks, this is a bad look because of the issues they are trying to rebuild from. After publicly announcing that an internal report was to be done about the allegations, people were fired and careers were halted. At this point Rocky believes the team has taken the steps to put this in the past. Jamie Faulkner and Danny Wirtz had positioned the Hawks to look good at the end of this presser as they addressed issues and seemed confident in the steps they are taking to repair this historic franchise’s image. However, that is not the case and people are still angry, rightfully so.
An hour after the press conference Rocky Wirtz is the 5th trending thing on twitter. All the media wanted to hear is how they’ve improved the workplace and unfortunately Rocky did not want to discuss this topic, instead saying he wanted to keep it internally. We will have to wait and see the impacts of this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blackhawks are trending for a few more hours.
UPDATE: Rocky did give a statement on his interaction with Mark Lazerus:
Hawks look to bounce back vs Minnesota at the UC @ 8:30.