It’s all over.
Chicago Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, Stan Bowman, is no longer with organization as one of multiple moves announced by CEO Danny Wirtz and chairman Rocky Wirtz during a closed briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
Kyle Davidson will serve as the team’s interim general manager while the organization searches for a new president of hockey operations.
The briefing was announced to disclose the results of an internal investigation called by the team after multiple sexual assault allegations filed against the team, accusing assistant video coach Brad Aldrich of sexual assault during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It started with a summary of the investigation’s results from Reid Schar, whom the team hired to lead the internal investigation.
Reid Schar, who headed the investigation, said they interviewed 139 people, including 14 people from the 2010 Cup team, Aldrich and the alleged victim.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 26, 2021
Both Aldrich and John Doe agree sexual encounter occurred, but disagree on if it was consensual, Schar says.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 26, 2021
Perhaps the most damning part of the entire briefing was this account of a meeting with several members of the Blackhawks front office:
Schar said John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac, Kevin Cheveldayoff, Jay Blunk and Joel Quenneville were all informed of the allegations on May 23. "Accounts of that meeting vary signficantly."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 26, 2021
The investigation also uncovered a few other details related to Aldrich’s tenure with the team which continued after the meeting referenced above.
Aldrich made an unwanted sexual advance on a 22-year-old intern at a Hawks party AFTER the Stanley Cup title, Schar says.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 26, 2021
As a result of the investigation, Bowman has “stepped aside,” as Danny Wirtz put it. The only other fallout affected senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, as all other executives from that May 23 meeting are no longer with the team.
However, as Ben Pope of the Sun-Times pointed out, a few of the people from that meeting are currently employed by other NHL teams:
This fallout is likely not over. Kevin Cheveldayoff is the Winnipeg Jets GM. Joel Quenneville, as we know, is the Panthers coach. https://t.co/lWEZZ6KAwu— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 26, 2021
The team released a statement on its website, which is partially quoted below. The full statement is available here:
It is clear the organization and its executives at that time did not live up to our own standards or values in handling these disturbing incidents. We deeply regret the harm caused to John Doe and the other individuals who were affected and the failure to promptly respond. As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must — and will — do better.
What we do off the ice is equally as important as anything we do on it. Our ownership and leadership teams are committed to ensuring that the Blackhawks adhere to the highest ethical, professional, and athletic standards. We will not tolerate behavior that is antithetical to our values from any member of the organization, nor will we accept the type of inaction that allows such issues to continue unchecked.
Since 2010, we have implemented numerous positive changes throughout our organization, especially over the past year — including more clearly defining organizational structure, alongside the hiring of new personnel who demonstrate our values and bring the right subject matter expertise in the areas of compliance, human resources and mental health & wellbeing.
We have policies, procedures and practices in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees, including policies that require leaders to report any suspected or actual harassment reported to them or which they observe, as well as processes to appropriately handle and investigate any reports of misconduct of any type by employees or third parties.
We have reviewed and modernized our employee handbook to ensure best practices, including our Anti-Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Policies.
The entire Blackhawks organization participates in mandatory annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination trainings and, as part of that, we clearly communicated several mechanisms for reporting of concerns including internal and third-party options such as the NHL’s anonymous hotline operated by Deloitte.
We believe these actions underscore and solidify our commitment to ensuring that the failures of the past will not be repeated. We intend to win championships without ever compromising our integrity.
To our fans, employees, players, partners, sponsors, and the entire Blackhawks community - Thank you for standing by us. As we move forward, we are committed to continuing to earn your trust and support both on and off the ice.
For those interested, the entire 107-page investigation is available here.
[UPDATE] The NHL’s punishment has arrived:
The NHL has fined the Blackhawks $2 million.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 26, 2021
[UPDATE, II] The first public comments from “John Doe” in the lawsuits:
Here is the first public statement from John Doe, the Blackhawks player whom Aldrich assaulted, since the lawsuits were filed.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 26, 2021
He responds to today's news: pic.twitter.com/JVC5og9Yhg
[UPDATE, III] Bowman lost his other hockey gig, too:
Stan Bowman is out as General Manager of Team USA for the Beijing 2022 Olympics.— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) October 26, 2021
No replacement named as of yet but this was a necessary action.
More updates will follow as they arrive.