It’s difficult to find any words now that aren’t merely a re-stating of what was said towards the end of June on this site as the allegations grew from specks on the radar to a full-blown firestorm that exploded with Tuesday’s revelations from the internal investigation ordered by the Blackhawks.
Even if it’s years too late, seeing actual consequences for such egregious missteps offers some level of reprieve that accountability came calling for people who avoided it for so, so long. And it feels like this is nowhere near over — there are 107 pages of details which will continue to raise more questions as the days progress.
First and foremost, the hope is that Tuesday’s reckoning offers some level of comfort to the victims of these sexual assaults that the team covered up, as no one had more taken from by these events.
Beyond that, the hope is that a full house cleaning of the Blackhawks’ organization provides an end to this downward spiral of the last 4-5 months, and that the new faces in the organization — especially CEO Danny Wirtz, president of business operations Jaime Faulkner and interim general manager Kyle Davidson — lead it in a direction that won’t require internal investigations in the future. In a bigger scope, the hope is that this entire process is a progressive step within a sport that has been painfully stubborn to adapt along with the evolution of the world around it.
All of that will only be known with time, and hope’s all we have right now.
The present is far murkier for this organization and those in its fan base, as the news from the last 24 hours have elicited visceral reactions because of the gross negligence for basic humanity exhibited by people who used to be the objects of our praise and adoration.
But that is their legacy which is forever tarnished. No matter how egregious the failings of this front office were, there are things from those years that they cannot take away because they do not belong to those executives or those coaches or those players.
They belong to you.
Every emotional roller-coaster ride you endured, every feeling of euphoria after a win, every stranger you high-fived after a goal at the game, every fellow fan you celebrated with at a bar, every all-caps tweet you sent, every new person who came into your life because of a shared interest in this team — it all still belongs to you.
Yes, it’s going to be hard to look at those teams the same way again. It’ll probably be a while before a lot of us can step foot inside the United Center or don Blackhawks apparel again. What was accomplished on the ice will be forever tainted by this stain. But this whole sports fandom thing was never about the suits in the front office or the coaches behind the bench or even the players on the ice — not for those of us in the crowds. It’s about embarking on all of those rides together, about the people who were sitting to your left and right as some moment happened that you can still recall in vivid detail, even a decade later.
It’s been that way before and it’ll be that way in the future. It just may take some time before we can all have those feelings about this particular team again.
As for these parts, writing about the Blackhawks is our job, so that’s what we’re going to do. There’s a game Wednesday evening and our preview will post later. For those who feel the need to step away from this team for a while, know that there’s always room at this site should you feel the need to return. For those hanging around, we look forward to sharing whatever experiences are coming our way next with this team.
Maybe even a win or two. We can hope, right?