Arguably the best GM in hockey isn’t leaving anytime soon. Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks have signed a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season, the team announced Tuesday. Bowman, officially titled General Manager and Senior Vice President, is currently in his 15th season as a member of the franchise.
The Hawks promoted Bowman to the GM position in Sept. 2010 to replace Dale Tallon, the man who laid the seeds of the team’s incredible success in recent seasons. Bowman, as Tallon’s successor, has been critical to sustaining that success through a series of shrewd moves and a strong player development model.
“I am proud of how much Stan and his staff have accomplished and have great confidence in his leadership as our organization continues to strive for consistent excellence,” said team president John McDonough in the statement. “Under Stan’s guidance, our Hockey Operations Department is strong across all levels, including scouting, player evaluation and development, and salary cap management. He has created a sound structure that Blackhawks fans can be excited about for many years to come.”
Bowman became the youngest GM in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup when the Hawks snapped their 49-year title drought by taking the championship in 2010. Over the five-plus years since, Bowman has won two more Stanley Cups and positioned the Hawks to be a prime contender in the postseason for years to come. Teaming up with head coach Joel Quenneville — even if the two haven’t always seen eye to eye — has created an amazing environment in Chicago. This extension only helps to further solidify the best brain trust in hockey.
Bowman has made countless major moves throughout his tenure in Chicago, from drafting Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen to inking the huge extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He’s also proven to be masterful at finding value outside the draft with players such as Artemi Panarin, Scott Darling and Erik Gustafsson. And, of course, he’s kept the Hawks remarkably competitive despite the cap limitations that have forced countless hard decisions.
There’s pretty much nobody I’d rather have running the Hawks. Bowman has shown some special qualities as a GM, including the ability to regularly hire smart people and let them help him. He was one of the first executives to embrace a major change in style and make sure his personnel reflected it. He traded Brandon Bollig for a damn third-round pick one time.
The team should continue to be in very good hands under Stan Bowman.