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Blackhawks fire president, CEO John McDonough after 13 seasons

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Blackhawks vice president Danny Wirtz will serve as the team’s interim president.

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

If you’re working right now, then you’re probably not John McDonough.

The Blackhawks released McDonough from his duties as president and CEO on Monday after 13 seasons with the organization. He was hired as the team’s president in 2007 and added the CEO title in 2011.

“I recruited John to the Blackhawks because of his leadership, direction and vision,” Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz said. “John brought all of that to the table and more. His contributions went well beyond leading the team to three Stanley Cup Championships. He rebuilt the front office and helped guide the organization toward a winning vision.

“As difficult as this is, we believe it was the right decision for the future of the organization and its fans.”

The Blackhawks won three Stanley Cup championships (2010, 2013, 2015) during McDonough’s tenure. Before that, the team hadn’t won a Cup since 1961. He came to the Blackhawks after spending 24 years with the Chicago Cubs, including as the team president.

McDonough oversaw the business operations, marketing and fan experience. He led the charge to have games broadcasted on local television — which was not done during the previous ownership — and created the Blackhawks Convention, which has happened every year since 2007. The Blackhawks’ attendance ranked first in the NHL, and at the time of the League’s coronavirus pause they were at a record 531 home game sellouts.

Under McDonough’s leadership the team also mended relationships with former star players like Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita and made them team ambassadors. In October 2011, the Blackhawks unveiled statues for Hull and Mikita in front of the United Center.

It’s a change of course for Wirtz, who told The Athletic last month that there were “not going to be any changes in the front office.” He also included general manager Stan Bowman and coach Jeremy Colliton when referencing the front office.

The Blackhawks haven’t made the playoffs since 2017 and haven’t won a playoff series since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

“It will take a new mindset to successfully transition the organization to win both on and off the ice,” Wirtz said in his statement.

Wirtz’s son Daniel, who currently serves as the vice president of the Blackhawks, will be the interim president. In a statement, Blackhawks said that ownership is “committed to ensuring strong executive leadership” and will immediately begin a search for a new president.”

“I cannot adequately express my family’s appreciation to John for his contributions to the turnaround of the Chicago Blackhawks organization,” the 43-year-old Daniel Wirtz said. ”I take this interim role with the utmost responsibility to the team and will focus on resetting the framework for the next generation of the Chicago Blackhawks. I look forward to working with Rocky to identify our next leader.”