Man says management told him to "look into playing in the suburbs" after robbery. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports.
An amateur hockey player said he has been banned for life from Johnny's Ice House, a hockey practice facility that hosts Chicago Blackhawks and amateurs alike, after he spoke out about the management's response to a recent armed robbery on the premesis.
Tim O'Shea spoke to NBC 5 on Thursday about an incident in which three hockey players were robbed in the garage of Johnny's Ice House in the 2500 block of West Madison.
After the report aired, O'Shea heard from his hockey captains over the weekend that he had been indefinitely suspended.
"The fact that I'm kicked out indefinitely, it's shocking," he said.
It all happened after police said three men approached the hockey players, struck one with a gun and demanded their belongings. The victims handed over their wallets and keys.
O'Shea told NBC 5 last week that he expressed concern to the facility's management about the robbery. General manager Kevin Rosenquist told him in an email the facility is taking the matter "very seriously" and is "working hard with the police to help them apprehend these people."
O'Shea said he was shocked, though, when Rosenquist suggested he “look into playing in the suburbs."
Following the NBC report, O'Shea saw his name highlighted in red on the facility's website, noting he was suspended. He emailed Johnny's Ice House owner Tom Moro and received a response telling him to never come back. Moro has not replied to multiple requests for comment from NBC 5.
"I informed both of your captains that you are no longer welcome in our buildings," Moro wrote in the email. "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."
Moro also attached the email he sent to the captains. It stated that after he saw the NBC 5 report, he initially considered throwing O'Shea's team out of the rink.
"Clearly he is not a hockey player or a man who understands our collegial friendships. But I know you are a good captain and have good men on your team - so instead, effective immediately, Mr. O'Shea is never allowed back in our buildings and if he tries we will have him arrested for trespassing immediately."
O'Shea told NBC 5 on Tuesday the facility's threat of arrest was especially disconcerting to him because he hasn't had any previous issues with Johnny's during the four years he played there.
News of his suspension has traveled, and O'Shea's friends in the hockey community have reached out to him to play at other facilities.
While he plans to continue playing elsewhere, O'Shea says he'll miss the friendships he made at Johnny's.
"They don't want to see me go either," he said, "but they realize I was passionate about this. I didn't want to sit back and let this go."