What seemed like a great start to a town hall meeting with Danny Wirtz and Jaime Faulkner regarding the future of the Chicago Blackhawks, quickly turned into an unmitigated disaster. Rocky Wirtz berated Mark Lazerus of The Athletic when asked a question, originally meant for Danny Wirtz, about what the Blackhawks organization has done to help empower players in the event of another Kyle Beach situation. When Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune asked a similar question, Rocky Wirtz gave the exact same answer.
Rocky Wirtz probably played the biggest role in helping revitalize the Blackhawks franchise back in 2007. He’d sit with fans during home games and get many thanks for helping did what he had done. All that good will he had built up with fans is now completely gone. Three Stanley Cups and being the golden standard of a sports franchise won’t be his legacy, these videos will be.
It really seems like Danny Wirtz and Jaime Faulkner want to do the right thing, but everything they said last night has taken a back seat to Rocky Wirtz’ outburst. The transparency certainly was there, with Rocky showing his true self, but the accountability still isn’t. He doesn’t want to talk about 2010, but Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are still on the main roster, as well as Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp leading the search for a new GM. Talking about 2010 can’t just be about the good things that happened then. By the way, which candidates want to be apart of this organization that still hasn’t changed its ways?
So here we are, back at square one again with the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. It feels like October again when the Jenner and Block investigation came out and Kyle Beach heroically came out as John Doe 1. How does this franchise build up trust and good will again with fans? And most importantly, how will they build a working environment where everyone feels safe and welcome regardless of their background?
Hockey fans and reporters unanimously came together in condemning Rocky Wirtz' actions. But what will the Chicago Blackhawks do to right this wrong? And if not, will Gary Bettman and the NHL step in? You can't give any side the benefit of the doubt, not with what happened over the summer. Neither the Blackhawks or NHL have released a statement as of 1:30 pm EST today.
Things certainly aren’t going to get any easier as Rick Westhead just posted this.
This must feel like the biggest slap in the face to sexual assault victims. Being told to move on unfortunately is not easy. My thoughts are with Kyle Beach, John Doe 2, John Doe 3, and the rest of sexual assault victims.
Actions are always bigger than words. Receipts are important in a situation where you’ve done something wrong and are trying to learn from it.