Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz made a rare public appearance on Wednesday night, taking the stage for a carefully crafted town hall in front of fans. During the Q&A part of the proceedings, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic directed a query at CEO Danny Wirtz about what the Blackhawks are doing to prevent power imbalances between players and the coaching staff following the Kyle Beach situation which embroiled the franchise for years and had a heavy human cost.
Rocky Wirtz immediately stepped in and stepped in it by angrily snapping.
"What we're going to do today is our business. I don't think it's any of your business," he said. "Because I don't think it's your business. You don't work for the company. If someone in the company asked 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."
Everyone, including those on stage, seemed dumbfounded by the reaction. Wirtz doubled down when the Chicago Tribune's Phil Thompson tried to follow up.
Here's the full text of Wirtz's comments, which reveals they really came out of nowhere.
It is rare to see a public figure implode like this via unforced error. Not only could have Wirtz declined specific comment on the initial question, he could have sat there and said nothing as it wasn't addressed to him in the first place.
He has since issued a public apology and the team has reached out to both reporters in an attempt to smooth things over but the damage is long done. The callousness and indifference is truly stunning. The Beach incident and the many missteps that followed continue to haunt the organization and Wirtz did nothing to prove things have changed at all over 11 years.