Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz's response baffles sex assault survivors: 'It was pretty staggering'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's what many see as a bewildering response to a valid question.

In the wake of Kyle Beach's sexual assault allegations and coverup accusations, how are the Blackhawks working to prevent sexual assault and empower players to come forward? Owner Rocky Wirtz answered like this at a town hall Wednesday.

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"We're not gonna talk about what happened. We're moving forward," Wirtz said. "That's none of your business. What we're gonna do today is our business. I don't think it's any of your business...We're not gonna talk about Kyle Beach. We're not gonna talk about anything that happened. We're moving on. What more do I have to say?"

The response was shocking to those who say they've survived sexual abuse at the hands of a hockey coach.

"I mean it was pretty staggering," said Kelly Gee, Survivors for Change Executive Director.

Gee started the non profit Survivors for Change with his friend, Michael Sacks, also a victim of sexual abuse.

The organization works to help male survivors of sex abuse.

Gee says he was sexually assaulted by a youth hockey coach when he was a player in Illinois.

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"The first thing that went through my mind was Kyle (Beach). You know? This is a young man who is just starting his journey of healing. He was brave enough and strong enough to do something that's harder than you can possibly imagine in owning his truth and bringing that forward," Gee said.

He says Wirtz talked about Beach's pain like it was old business.

"It's not an appropriate response to a very dark chapter in your franchise's history," said ESPN 1000 host Carmen DeFalco.

DeFalco was similarly baffled at the response.

"You don't want to go back in the past, fine. But tell us now why things are different. It's not 2010 I get it, it's 2022, but it's time to talk about the lessons you've learned," he said.

Rocky Wirtz released a statement saying, in part, "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."

Aside from that short statement from Wirtz released Wednesday the Blackhawks have not answered repeated requests for comment or an interview.

Rocky Wirtz full statement:

Tonight, at the Chicago Blackhawks town hall, my response to two questions crossed the line. 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.
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