Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz says he's no longer "going to talk about Kyle Beach," a former player who sued the hockey franchise last year after alleging he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup title run.
During a town-hall event on Wednesday, Wirtz shut down any further questions involving Beach after a reporter asked how the Blackhawks intended to prevent any power imbalances between players and coaches that led to the sexual abuse scandal.
"We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach," said Wirtz, who sat on a panel with CEO Danny Wirtz and President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner. "We’re not going to talk about anything that happened. Now we’re moving on. What more do I have to say?"
Beach, a former first-round pick in 2008, filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks in May 2021 for mishandling allegations that then-assistant coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2010. An independent review released in October found "no action was taken" by the Blackhawks after Beach's accusations, leading to the resignation of general manager Stan Bowman and vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac.
KYLE BEACH: NHL 'let me down and they've let others down'
The Blackhawks, who were fined $2 million by the NHL for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response," resolved the lawsuit with Beach in December through a confidential settlement.
On Wednesday, Rocky Wirtz said that "the report speaks for itself" and declined to talk about how the franchise planned to protect players in the future.
"The people that were involved are no longer here," said Wirtz. "We’re not looking back at 2010, we’re looking forward. And we’re not going to talk about 2010."
He continued: "I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t work for the company. If somebody in the company asks that question, we’ll answer it. And I think you should get on to the next subject."
When another reporter followed up and asked why Wirtz refused to answer despite the franchise's pledged transparency, Wirtz said they were "bring(ing) up old business."
.@MarkLazerus asked Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz how the team is working to empower players in the wake of the Kyle Beach situation.
Wirtz: "We're not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We're not going to talk about 2010. We're moving on."
🎥 @NHLBlackhawks pic.twitter.com/B12Rr5RusS
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) February 3, 2022
Wirtz later walked back his comments Wednesday night. In a statement, he wrote that he "crossed the line" with his outbursts over the Beach situation.
"I want to apologize to the fans and those reporters," Wirtz wrote in a statement, obtained by reporter Mark Lazerus. "I regret that my response overshadowed the great work this organization's doing to move forward. We have the right leaders and right processes in place to create a safe environment for our employees and players."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Blackhawks owner says 'we’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach'