The hockey world has been waiting for the Chicago Blackhawks to officially address the Brad Aldrich allegations for quite some time. This afternoon they broke their silence and spoke about the situation and the fallout from the independent investigation. Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, team CEO Danny Wirtz and Reid Schar, who led the investigation, made statements and fielded no questions.
The biggest news to come out of this is team president and general manager Stan Bowman has resigned. Assistant general manager Kyle Davidson will take over on an interim basis. Danny Wirtz also said that all executives that were part of this failure in 2010 are no longer part of the organization.
Independent Investigation is Damning
Schar spent about 10 minutes giving a summary of his team’s investigation. He ensured that he was completely independent and was given no direction nor push back from the Blackhawks. He interviewed a total of 139 witnesses, including 21 still employed by the team. He also spoke to Aldrich and his accuser.
Without going into the details, there was a sexual encounter between the two on either May 9 or 10 of 2010. One says it was consensual, while the other says it was not. Shortly after clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, a meeting was held with former team president John McDonough, executives Al MacIsaac and Jay Blunk, former head coach Joel Quenneville, and former assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.
One witness said that McDonough and Quenneville wanted the focus on “the challenge of being in the Final.” The decision was left in the hands of McDonough, who did not report the incident to human resources for three weeks. Once reported, nothing was done.
The entire 107-page report with all its findings has been made public and sent to the NHL.
Stan Bowman Steps Down
Since this happened under Bowman’s watch, he has taken responsibility and is no longer with the organization. His successful run of three Stanley Cup wins in six years will be forever tarnished by these events. He leaves behind a team in total disarray, but the on-ice product takes a back seat today.
“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,” Danny Wirtz wrote in an official statement. “We deeply regret the harm caused to 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.
“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 fallout from this case is far from over. Cheveldayoff is the current general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, and Quenneville is behind the bench of the undefeated Florida Panthers. Then, there is still the lawsuit, which the team is trying to have dismissed. One would think they may abandon that plan of attack after today’s briefing.
The Blackhawks have taken responsibility and have held those responsible for their actions. They have said all the right things today. As we advance, it is up to us as fans, reporters, and concerned citizens to hold them to the high standards they say they have.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.