Gary Bettman says confrontational response from Chicago Blackhawks’ owner Rocky Wirtz out of ‘frustration’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday defended the comments made earlier this week by Chicago Blackhawks owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz on his organization’s response to the Kyle Beach scandal.

Wirtz gave a confrontational answer to a reporter who asked about how the Blackhawks planned to avoid power imbalances in the future on Wednesday, calling the question ‘out of line.’

In an appearance Friday on The Point, Bettman spoke for the first time about Wirtz’s angry response to questions about Beach.

“What we saw from Rocky was frustration,” Bettman said. “[It was] an emotional — I think most media are calling it an outburst — and the most unfortunate thing about it is, it’s completely inconsistent with all the work that the Blackhawks are doing. A lot of personnel have left. [President of Business Operations] Jaime Faulkner and [CEO] Danny Wirtz are really running things day-to-day. They are bringing in a wellness department, they’re having training, there’s counselling, they know they have to do everything right to create an environment that has an open, welcoming and safe culture. And that’s what they’re working on. So I just think it was an emotional moment born out of something that I know has weighed very heavily on Rocky and I think [at] the town hall and what he was really focused on was, how do we take all these things we’re doing to move forward? And I just think this was just pent-up frustration. And he apologized promptly.”

Author: Lucy Green