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Hockey Player Banned From Johnny's Ice House For Voicing Safety Concerns After A Robbery

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 10, 2014 7:30PM

An armed robbery at Johnny’s Ice House on the West side earlier this week is drawing attention not for the robbery itself but for the hockey facility management’s response to one person’s concern about the robbery.

Three men were robbed of their wallets and other valuables by three other men, two of them carrying guns. One of the victims was struck with a gun to show the robbers meant business. Amateur hockey player Tim O’Shea brought his concerns about safety near Johnny’s Ice House, a facility known for its recreational hockey leagues and as the place where the Blackhawks practice regularly, to management, where he received the following response from general manager Kevin Rosenquist saying they were taking the incident “very seriously” and that management were working with police to help identify and nab the robbers.

If Rosenquist ended there it may have been enough to assuage O’Shea’s concerns about safety. Rosenquist didn’t. The email concluded:

"As far as your concerns with safety it is the city of Chicago and these things happen all over the place. It is unfortunate but true. If you or your friends are questioning your association with the league due to safety concerns then I would suggest that perhaps the city is not for you and you should look into playing in the suburbs."

Yeah. Hockey players are supposed to be tough. You break a foot, you skate on it. You get pistol whipped, you sew the wound shut with your spare skate laces, hit the ice and kill that power play. You aren’t Lebron James getting carried off the court in a playoff game with cramps. Anyway, O’Shea took his concerns to NBC 5, which caught the attention of Johnny’s Ice House owner Tom Moro. Rather than apologize for Rosenquist’s email, Moro banned O’Shea from the facility.

“I informed both of your captains that you are no longer welcome in our buildings. You are a coward Mr. O’Shea, do not ever contact us again or we will inform the police that you are harassing our employees. I hope you enjoyed your 5 minutes of fame.”

Threatening O’Shea with arrest for trespassing is a bit much. We wouldn’t be surprised if Moro banned the players who were robbed from the facility because they didn’t disarm the assailants. Thankfully, Moro didn’t follow through on his threat to ban O’Shea’s entire team from Johnny’s.

O’Shea is right to be concerned. Johnny’s Ice House is located a couple blocks from the United Center in an area of the West side that is definitely improving but still has its struggles with crime. It appears as though Moro, Rosenquist and Johnny’s Ice House management is overreacting to an incident that could have occurred at any time, given its location. Which isn’t a good way to attract new business or skaters to their place of business. There are plenty of other places to skate indoors or get involved with a hockey league in Chicago. We’re sure the suburban ones would be glad to accept them.

Oh, wait. There is crime in the suburbs, too.

It's worth noting we've only heard O'Shea's account of the email exchange. We don't know what he wrote to Rosenquist that may have resulted in this extreme response from Rosenquist or Moro, but it would have to be at least equal to their replies. On the periphery are the Blackhawks, who stand the possibility of being dragged into this by their mere association with Johnny's. As this story gains traction the team will feel the pressure to address Moro's and Rosenquist's words, if not disassociate themselves with Johnny's.