NHL News: Blackhawks release findings of assault allegations; Stan Bowman and others resign

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman “stepped aside” and left the organization Tuesday, the day the findings of an investigation into decade-old sexual misconduct allegations were released.

CEO Danny Wirtz made the announcement. Kyle Davidson, the assistant general manager of hockey operations, will replace Bowman on an interim basis.

Multiple outlets reported that senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac also left his position.

Blackhawks fined 2 million dollars

Bowman was concluding his first year as general manager in 2010 when former video coach Bradley Aldrich allegedly assaulted two players. Reid Schar, a former U.S. attorney, interviewed 139 witnesses during a four-month investigation and found the team failed to take action following a May 23, 2010, meeting to discuss the allegations of sexual assault.

Among the members of the organization who were present were Bowman, now-Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville and Kevin Cheveldayoff, the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, Schar said.

Wirtz said Tuesday he told team attorneys to attempt to settle lawsuits brought against the team by two plaintiffs.

“It is clear the organization and its executives at that time did not live up to our own standards or values in handling these disturbing incidents,” the Blackhawks said in a letter to the community. “We deeply regret the harm caused to (plaintiff) John Doe and the other individuals who were affected and the failure to promptly respond. As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must — and will — do better.

Blackhawks allegations
Blackhawks (Getty Images)

“What we do off the ice is equally as important as anything we do on it. Our ownership and leadership teams are committed to ensuring that the Blackhawks adhere to the highest ethical, professional, and athletic standards. We will not tolerate behavior that is antithetical to our values from any member of the organization, nor will we accept the type of inaction that allows such issues to continue unchecked.”

The National Hockey League announced in a statement that the Chicago Blackhawks have been fined $2 Million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response in the handling of matters related to former video coach Brad Aldrich’s employment with the Club and ultimate departure in 2010.”

Also per the NHL, $1 million of that fine “will be dedicated 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.”

Bowman resigns, says it was not his fault

Bowman, the son of legendary coach Scotty Bowman, was in his 19th season with the Blackhawks. He added president of hockey operations to his title last Dec. 16.

Now 48, Bowman became the youngest general manager to lead a team to a Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks won it in 2010. They repeated the feat in 2013 and ’15, giving Bowman three Stanley Cup victories.

He was named GM on July 14, 2009, after working in the hockey operations department for eight years.

In the wake of his resignation, Bowman released a statement explaining how he thought the matter was being handled by his superior.

“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 wrote. “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.

Chicago is off to an 0-5-1 start this season and posted a record of 493-315-110 in the Bowman era. In the six full seasons since their most recent Stanley Cup win, the Blackhawks made the playoffs three times, losing in the first round each time.

Bowman was also named as the general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. There has been no recent update to his status.

MacIsaac, 54, had been with the Blackhawks since 2000.

–Field Level Media