CHICAGO — Stan Bowman has stepped down as Chicago Blackhawks general manager and president of hockey operations as a result of a law firm’s independent review of the team’s handling of a former player’s 2010 sexual misconduct allegations against then-video coach Brad Aldrich.
The results of Chicago-based Jenner & Block’s findings were revealed Tuesday, and Hawks CEO Danny Wirtz announced that Bowman has “stepped aside.” Kyle Davidson, vice president of hockey strategy and analytics, will take on the role of interim GM.
“Rocky and I appreciate Stan’s dedication to the Blackhawks and his many years of work for the team,” Wirtz said in a statement. “However, we and he ultimately accept that in his first year as general manager he made a mistake alongside our other senior executives at the time and did not take adequate action in 2010.
“Stan exhibited extreme professionalism and integrity in cooperating in the investigation, more so than his peers, and we cannot overstate the important role Stan played in revisiting that meeting in the report. I believe that if this had happened in 2020-2021 with Stan at the helm, the Stan that I know and that we know would have acted differently and been a louder voice in that room.”
None of the other executives involved in the Hawks’ response in 2010 will be with the organization moving forward. According to a source, Al MacIsaac also is out as senior vice president of hockey operations, and mental skills coach James F. Gary retired in June. Jay Blunk, who was executive vice president for nearly 14 years, left in August.
The NHL fined the Hawks $2 million for “inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” in handling Aldrich’s employment and departure. Half of the fine money will go toward funding Chicago-area organizations that provide counseling and support for survivors of sexual abuse and other forms of abuse, a league statement said.
The anonymous former player, using the pseudonym “John Doe,” has an ongoing lawsuit against the team alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Aldrich pleaded guilty in 2013 to misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct with a former Houghton (Mich.) High School hockey player who later also sued the Hawks.
The Hawks have filed motions to dismiss both cases, but Wirtz hinted Tuesday that a swift resolution to the former player’s lawsuit may be possible.
“It is clear that in 2010 the executives of this organization put team performance above all else,” he said. “John Doe deserves better from the Blackhawks and while we believe we have a strong legal defense, I’ve instructed our lawyers to see if we can reach a fair resolution consistent with the totality of the circumstances.”
While announcing the law firm’s findings, Wirtz also apologized to John Doe.