Blackhawks' Rocky Wirtz Apologizes for Comments About Changes After Kyle Beach Case

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 3, 2022

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz speaks during an NHL hockey press conference in Chicago. The Blackhawks are holding a briefing Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, to discuss the findings of an investigation into allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player in 2010. Team owner Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz and former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who ran the investigation, are scheduled to speak. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, File)
AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, File

Chicago Blackhawks principal owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz has apologized for his dismissive and combative comments toward The Athletic's Mark Lazerus and the Chicago Tribune's Phillip Thompson during a town hall meeting Wednesday.

Wirtz also released an apology statement:

Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus

Rocky Wirtz apologizes in a statement for having "crossed the line." <a href="https://t.co/83ZdwOmcBj">pic.twitter.com/83ZdwOmcBj</a>

Both Lazerus and Thompson asked how the organization would take proactive steps after an independent report from the law firm of Jenner & Block found that the team grossly mishandled its response to former team minor leaguer Kyle Beach's sexual assault allegations against former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010.

Lazerus posted his full exchange with Wirtz:

Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus

Here's the full exchange between me and Rocky Wirtz. <br><br>I honestly thought it was kind of a softball question. <a href="https://t.co/VeSUnuDnv5">pic.twitter.com/VeSUnuDnv5</a>

Video of the exchange can be found via The Athletic:

The Athletic @TheAthletic

.<a href="https://twitter.com/MarkLazerus?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MarkLazerus</a> asked Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz how the team is working to empower players in the wake of the Kyle Beach situation.<br><br>Wirtz: "We're not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We're not going to talk about 2010. We're moving on."<br><br>🎥 <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLBlackhawks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHLBlackhawks</a> <a href="https://t.co/B12Rr5RusS">pic.twitter.com/B12Rr5RusS</a>

Thompson followed up Lazerus' questioning and also entered the line of fire from the owner for his remarks.

Beach, who filed a lawsuit against the team, reached an out-of-court settlement with the Blackhawks in December.