Blackhawks embarrassed by rocky night on and off the ice


It would be a preferred route to comment more on the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5–0 drubbing at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night at the United Center. Commenting on inconsistent play and the pending the trade deadline would be the easier thing to do. But, here we are again, witnessing an organization that so many of us follow, attempting to simplify real life issues and an attempt to “not deal with” pertinent matters as they pertain to the possible restoration of their public image with their fanbase.

What happened on the ice in a brutal loss to the Wild on Wednesday pales in comparison to Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz’s comments during the Hawks’ town hall meeting hours before. In what should have been a session dedicated to the to the organization’s growth since their misconduct in the handling of the Kyle Beach sexual assault accusations, instead became a shockingly awkward step backwards for a team seemingly locked in a dismissive and bygone subculture of white privilege and entitlement.

It has been seen time and time again in the last 12+ hours. Seasoned reporter Mark Lazerus asking a very straight-forward and lay-up of a question of Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz (Rocky’s son) on how the organization plans to move forward to change the culture following the Beach incident. An intelligent and poised Danny Wirtz fully prepared to answer and address the question was then cut off by his father, who bitterly and angrily rejected the idea of speaking about such an issue. Rocky Wirtz then followed his stern objection to Lazerus’ question by berating Chicago Tribune reporter Phil Thompson, not even allowing him to finish his inquest.

Danny Wirtz attempted to interject midway through the onslaught on Lazerus and was quickly silenced by his father. In just over a minute, all of the great work Danny and President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner have done over the last few months to restore good faith to the fanbase was wiped out. In fairness to Danny Wirtz, he has been terrific in his role as CEO recently and has been a catalyst and agent for change. His one mistake? Inviting Dad to join him on stage during last night’s session.

The brutal truth of how Rocky Wirtz feels about the Beach scandal reared its head. He may as well have said, “I really do not want to talk or deal with this anymore.” Oh wait, he kind of did just say that. For an organization in severe need of an overhaul that has preached a message of transparency and accountability of late, their chairman gave you anything but that on Wednesday night. Rocky Wirtz does not want to deal with it, plain and simple. Whether he has an axe to grind with Lazerus or not, who knows, but something really set fire to Rocky Wirtz, and he lost it. He simply hates the fact that he has to address this and just flat out does not want to. It is sad, and honestly, kind of scary, as what happened last night can and will hurt this franchise for a number of different reasons.

Buying a ticket to go see this team right now? Nope, not really on my list of things to do. A destination for free agents believing that the Hawks have a healthy environment to play in? No chance. What about pursuing a job in their corporate office, public relations or ticket sales? I would turn back if I were you. To say this is troubling is the understatement of the century. It was not too long ago that Rocky Wirtz was viewed as the savior of the franchise, and every public appearance in the United Center was met with a chorus of cheers, followed by the chanting of his name. Now, he may want to reconsider any public appearance for the time being, and there is little question that when he does show up at the UC again, the chorus from the fanbase may sound considerably different.

So, the Hawks lost 5–0 on Wednesday, and honestly, who cares? Yep, a lost season yet again in many ways, and clearly a lost organization at that as well.

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