Usually when you have to release two statements regarding one event, you messed up big time. Though that’s probably putting it lightly for Rocky Wirtz and the Chicago Blackhawks following Wednesday night’s Town Hall event.
After outbursts from Rocky regarding the Kyle Beach sexual assault investigation fallout in exchanges with Mark Lazerus and Phil Thompson, the Blackhawks’ Owner and Chairman released a brief statement of apology.
Following up on that apology was Rocky and his son, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz, on Thursday night as the two released new statements regarding the issues from Wednesday night.
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) February 4, 2022
From Rocky Wirtz:
First of all, I acknowledge that I was not asked this question, and if I could do it over again, I would let Danny share the incredible work he, Jaime and our staff have done to improve our culture and team.
However, what I would also say if given another opportunity is that the first step is putting the right people in place. Danny and Jaime have spent the past year understanding how this happened and where it is happening – not just in our locker rooms but in youth locker rooms as well. And they are fully empowered to put the right things in place not just at the Chicago Blackhawks, but also at the Rockford IceHogs and Fifth Third Arena.
Again, I regret the outburst. I suddenly felt incredibly frustrated as I perceived we were looking back instead of looking forward.
From Danny Wirtz:
Hockey culture is set by the culture we have as an organization. It’s determined by the choices we make, the actions we take every single day at the Blackhawks. Hiring people with the right values. Building a more inclusive workplace. Doing the right thing at all times even when it isn’t easy.
We are going to support and participate in the initiatives that come from the NHL, which will absolutely help our game progress, but we have also put our own programs, policies and trainings in place. For example, we have built a whole mental health department available to both players and employees, are currently in the process of launching an employee-led committee focused on aspects of culture, and have implemented mechanisms to ensure any reports of non-compliance are investigated immediately.
There is no finish line to this work. And Rocky and I are united that we will learn from the mistakes in this organization’s past and do the things that move our sport forward.
I’m very intrigued to learn more about this “mental health department” that the organization is creating.
For all of the undoing of good work that Rocky Wirtz did with his words and actions on Wednesday night, Danny Wirtz has done so much clean-up work that is seems clear that he should be the one calling the shots with the Blackhawks moving forward.