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Hawks' Danny, Rocky Wirtz release updated statements


The goal of Wednesday's town hall event on Wednesday at the United Center was to provide a mid-season update and discuss "the greater vision of the organization moving forward."

Unfortunately, it got overshadowed by Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz's heated exchange with two reporters when asked what steps the organization has taken to prevent a situation like 2010 from happening again amid the Kyle Beach allegations. He released a statement hours later apologizing for his comments and behavior.

"My response to two questions crossed the line," Wirtz admitted. "I want to apologize to the fans and those reporters, and I regret that my response overshadowed the great work this organization is doing to move forward. We have the right leaders and right processes in place to create a safe environment for our employees and players."

On Thursday, Rocky Wirtz released an updated statement, along with CEO Danny Wirtz, after multiple media outlets inquired about how they would answer the question if given another opportunity to do so. It should be noted Danny did not get an opportunity on Wednesday to share what measures have been put in place. Below are their responses, obtained by NBC Sports Chicago.

Response 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."

Response from CEO 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."

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