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Stan Bowman is out and Blackhawks are fined $2M after law firm announces findings of investigation related to 2010 misconduct allegations

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

CHICAGO — Stan Bowman established himself in the hockey world when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, his first season as general manager.

That same year, Hawks upper management failed to act on a player’s sexual assault claim until after the championship was secured, according to a law firm’s independent review. The damning details in that report, released Tuesday, came at a high cost for Bowman 11 years later: He resigned from his position as Hawks president of hockey operations and general manager, as well as from his role as GM of the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

The former player, identified as “John Doe” in a lawsuit filed this year, alleged he was assaulted in May 2010 by then-video coach Brad Aldrich.

While discussing Chicago-based Jenner & Block’s findings, Hawks CEO Danny Wirtz said Tuesday: “Rocky (Wirtz, Hawks chairman) and I appreciate Stan’s dedication to the Blackhawks and his many years of work for the team. 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 2020-21 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.”

The report could have far-reaching repercussions beyond the abrupt end of Bowman’s tenure, during which he presided over three championships.

 

The NHL fined the Hawks $2 million, and Commissioner Gary Bettman announced he will meet with Kevin Cheveldayoff, the Hawks assistant general manager in 2010, and Joel Quenneville, the gruff coach who led the Hawks to those three titles and remains a beloved figure in team lore.

“With respect to Messrs. Cheveldayoff and Quenneville, who are currently employed by NHL clubs other than the Blackhawks (the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers, respectively), I plan to arrange personal meetings in the near future with both individuals to discuss their roles in the relevant events as detailed in the report,” Bettman said. “I will reserve judgment on next steps, if any, with respect to them.”

The NHL fined the Hawks 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.

For the Hawks, Tuesday’s developments have seismic implications for the franchise.

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