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“Organizational Changes” Coming to the Blackhawks After Independent Investigation (UPDATE: Bowman is Out as GM)

Chicago Blackhawks

Updates at the bottom of this post. Full story coming after all details are out.

The Chicago Blackhawks have canceled their afternoon media availability after practice today, replacing it with the findings of an internal investigation into the Bradley Aldrich scandal, featuring appearances from owner Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz.

Based on the timing and nature of the press conference (more on that below), plus the personnel expected to attend, this may finally be the reckoning we were expecting. Indeed, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic is reporting that “organizational changes” will come from the findings. Wow.

Press Conference Details

The Blackhawks have announced that there will be a 1:00 pm briefing on the findings at which Rocky Wirtz, Danny Wirtz, and lead investigator Reid Schar are scheduled to speak. Notably, team president and GM Stan Bowman is not mentioned as one taking part in this media availability. In addition, the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, have also canceled their regular afternoon media session in light of these developments.

Note: This press conference will be a closed briefing (i.e. it’s not streaming anywhere), but we will update you with information as soon as it comes out.

Additional Background

To get caught up on the Aldrich scandal, here’s an excerpt from a story on the investigation by Mario this summer:

“If you are not yet aware, there are multiple lawsuits currently being filed against former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich for sexual assault, abuse, and harassment during his time with the club, as well as with various hockey organizations he worked for following his time with Chicago. There are also lawsuits being filed against the Blackhawks for their handling of the allegations against Aldrich and the fallout from their alleged failure to report those allegations properly.”

You can read that whole story and multiple reports on the Aldrich scandal here.

This is a developing story, and we will be covering the press conference with the findings of the internal investigation this afternoon and the fallout from the findings within the organization. So stay tuned; we will have more on this as information becomes available.

UPDATES

UPDATE: Per Frank Seravalli, Blackhawks Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac (he’s not the only one, see below) is out as a result of the findings in the independent investigation into the Cole Aldrich sexual abuse lawsuits.

UPDATE II (Michael): According to reports, 139 witnesses were interviewed throughout this investigation, including John Doe and Bradley Aldrich, himself. And, perhaps expectedly, there is a fundamental disagreement on the very issue at hand.

UPDATE III (Michael): I have no interest in outing John Doe if he doesn’t want to be out there, though those details are now trickling out into the public and it could just be a matter of time.

UPDATE IV (Michael): And here’s the VERY big one. As expected by many and hoped by others, Stan Bowman is no longer the General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. Wow.

And finally, after all this time, they’re starting to actually take some responsibility.

Circling back to Bowman, let me just add that we will have MUCH more on what (and who?) comes next, but obviously, fans have been clamoring for the team to move on for a while now – not only for his presumed/alleged awareness of this scandal, but also for the way he’s handled the team, itself, over the past few years. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks are now a winless, GM-less team who just mortgaged a large part of their future to win this season, when it’s pretty clearly not happening – at least, not yet. Oh, and they’re also dealing with significant COVID issues and whatever additional results are born out of this investigation.

Update V (Michael): In the meantime, it seems Assistant GM Kyle Davidson is stepping up as the new GM, but the Blackhawks will perform a search for new leadership.

Here’s a profile on Davidson via Blackhawks.com:

Kyle Davidson enters his 11th season with the Chicago Blackhawks and first as Assistant General Manager of Hockey Administration. In his current role, Davidson assists President of Hockey Operations/General Manager Stan Bowman with day-to-day hockey operations tasks including player contract research and negotiations, salary cap management, salary arbitration, collective bargaining agreement administration as well as scouting at the professional and amateur levels.

Davidson began his career with the Blackhawks as a Hockey Operations Intern in 2010 and was promoted to a full-time role as a Hockey Analytics/Video Analyst the next season. He was promoted again in the summer of 2011 to Hockey Administration Coordinator, elevated to Hockey Operations Manager in 2015 then to Senior Manager of Hockey Operations in 2017 before becoming Assistant to the General Manager in 2018.

Born in Ottawa, Ontario and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Davidson graduated from the Sports Administration program at Laurentian University in 2010. He currently resides in Chicago with his fiancé, Angelica.

UPDATE VI: And here’s a letter to the fans:

UPDATE: The Blackhawks are being fined $2 million, half of which will be used to “fund local organizations in and around Chicago community that provide counseling and training for, and support and assistance to, survivors of sexual and other forms of abuse.”



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.