Blackhawks Will Begin Reaching Out to GM Candidates This Week

On October 26, Stan Bowman was removed from his position as General Manager with the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the fallout from the Kyle Beach sexual assault investigation. In his place, the Blackhawks put 33-year-old Kyle Davidson in charge in an interim role. As the season progressed, we learned that Davidson and interim head coach Derek King would stay in their roles through the rest of the regular season. On Wednesday night, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz provided a public update on the organization’s search for their permanent front office roles.

You can find the full statement here:

The biggest takeaway is that the Blackhawks are going to be reaching out to potential candidates for the GM position as early as this week and plan to have that person in place before the NHL Trade Deadline.

From Wirtz:

Our next step is to find the right leader, and we will begin to reach out to potential candidates this week to interview for the General Manager role. That position will be the highest-ranking executive in Hockey Operations and will report directly to me. We anticipate making a final decision in advance of the National Hockey League Trade Deadline.

Kyle Davidson is mentioned as a candidate for the position in a permanent role and will still have full control over the team through the GM interviewing process.

Along with finding a permanent GM, the organization is planning a re-tooling of their Hockey Operations department. As Wirtz puts it, the team will be creating a “Next Generation” Hockey Operations Department. The interview process will be led by Wirtz and Blackhawks President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner, along with a support team of advisors (this is pretty similar to the process the Bears just used to find their new GM Ryan Poles).

As part of being transparent in the process, the Blackhawks plan to hold a “townhall” meeting next week with fans, partners, staff, and media to go into more details regarding the searching process.

In the statement, Wirtz reiterates that the team will be looking both inside and outside of hockey for the best potential candidates. Earlier this year, we learned the Blackhawks had reached out to the Chicago Cubs front office for advice in the search and had also hired Mike Forde as a search consultant.

It was expected that the Blackhawks’ next GM would be overseen by a President of Hockey Operations, but that doesn’t look to be the case for now. If Chicago is going to have the GM over-look everything in the new Hockey Operations department, they might be looking for someone who has had a more robust background in front office work than Davidson has.

Making the decision in-season (they “anticipate making a final decision in advance of the National Hockey League Trade Deadline”) goes against what Chicago had previously said about Davidson and King in their interim roles, and throws a bit of a wrench into the plans heading towards the NHL Trade Deadline on March 21, just under eight weeks away. If you’re not going to have Davidson control the team after March 21, why let him make moves prior to that date? Especially since this year’s deadline is vital to the direction the Blackhawks want to go moving forward on the ice.

I’ve been optimistic about the future in the Chicago front office since the removal of Bowman and Al MacIsaac and under the direction of Danny Wirtz. Delaying the decision until this point in the season, to me, seems like the first misstep in the process as other NHL teams have fired and hired new GMs already this year after the Blackhawks made their moves with Bowman and Colliton. Maybe their intention to look outside the traditional hockey world was a part of their decision-making in the timeline. We’ll see.

written by

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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