Oct 26, 2021
Blackhawks GM Bowman steps down in wake of investigation
Stan Bowman’s time with the Chicago Blackhawks is over. The team announced their general manager and president had stepped down on Tuesday on Tuesday in the wake of an independent investigation into allegations that a then-assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010.
Stan Bowman’s time with the Chicago Blackhawks is over.
The team announced their general manager and president had stepped down on Tuesday in the wake of an independent investigation into allegations that a then-assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010.
The report, called "disturbing and difficult to read" by CEO Danny Wirtz, has been handed over to the NHL. The team has since made the full report available on its website. (Note: The contents of the report contain descriptions of sexual assault that some may find disturbing to read.)
Kyle Davidson will serve as interim GM.
Wirtz also announced that no member of the team's senior management in 2010 will be with the organization any longer.
Danny Wirtz says no executive involved with 2010 will be with the organization any longer.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) October 26, 2021
Later on Tuesday, Bowman released a statement.
"Eleven years ago, while serving in my first year as general manager, I was made aware of potential inappropriate behavior by a then-video coach involving a player," Bowman said. "I promptly reported the matter to the then-President and CEO who committed to handling the matter. I learned this year that the inappropriate behavior involved a serious allegation of sexual assault. I relied on the direction of my superior that he would take appropriate action. Looking back, now knowing he did not handle the matter promptly, I regret assuming he would do so."
Bowman, 48, had been with the club for two decades and was promoted to GM in 2009. The son of Hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman, the younger Bowman helped lead the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup victories over a six-year period from 2010 to 2015. The Montreal native was promoted to president of hockey operations last December upon the firing of John McDonough, the president Bowman alluded to in his statement.
The investigation into the allegations began in August led by former federal prosecutor Reid Schar in conjunction with Jenner & Block LLP.
The allegations surrounded the conduct of former trainer Bradley Aldrich, who in separate lawsuits, was alleged to have committed the sexual assault of a player during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup run and, later, the sexual assault of a high school student in Michigan.
Schar's investigation found that Aldrich's alleged assault of the player, called John Doe in the investigation, was known by management including then McDonough, senior vice president Al MacIsaac, Bowman, executive Jay Bunk, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach Joel Quenneville.
Schar said John McDonough, Al MacIsaac, Stan Bowman, Jay Blunk, Kevin Cheveldayoff, Joel Quenneville and James Gary met to discuss what happened with John Doe.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) October 26, 2021
Cheveldayoff released a statement Tuesday night, saying he has "shared everything I know about this matter as part of my participation in Jenner & Block’s investigation. That is reflected in today’s investigation report."
Adding, "Further, I look forward to my discussion with Commissioner Bettman at the soonest possible date to continue to cooperate fully with the National Hockey League. I will reserve any further comment until after that conversation has been conducted.”
Aldrich went on to make an advance towards a Blackhawks employee after the organization had been aware of Doe's allegations.
Schar says Aldrich made an unwanted sexual advance on a Blackhawks intern after the organization had been informed of what happened with John Doe.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) October 26, 2021
Wirtz again apologized to Doe and said he deeply regretted "the harm" done to the player and others.
Danny Wirtz says they deeply regret "the harm" caused to John Doe and others affected. "We must and will do better."— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) October 26, 2021
"We must and will do better," Wirtz said.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Bowman is still set to serve as the GM of the United States’ entry at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
Later on Tuesday, the NHL announced a $2 million fine for the Blackhawks in the wake of the investigation. Of the fine, $1 million will be set aside to "fund local organizations in and around the Chicago community that provide counseling and training for, and support and assistance to, survivors of sexual and other forms of abuse."
“Today’s fine represents a direct and necessary response to the failure of the club to follow-up and address the 2010 incident in a timely and appropriate manner,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “And, this response should send a clear message to all NHL clubs and all NHL personnel that inappropriate acts must be addressed in a timely fashion. In that regard, we also reiterate that the league has implemented a confidential and anonymous hot line, which is available at any time to all NHL personnel.”
Bettman also addressed the futures of the Blackhawks' management team of McDonough, MacIsaac, Bowman and Bunk, noting that further discipline could be meted out.
"Should they wish to re-enter the league in some capacity in the future, I will require a meeting with me in advance of their accepting any NHL Club-related position in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place,” Bettman said.