Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman resigned Tuesday, and the NHL fined the team $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” to allegations of sexual assault perpetrated by an assistant coach in 2010, according to an Associated Press report.
Bowman’s resignation comes following the findings of an independent investigation into the Blackhawks’ handling of the 2010 sexual assault allegation against a former coach by an outside law firm.
Bowman was the Blackhawks’ GM for about 12 years. A top team executive, Al MacIsaac, is also out.
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Two members of the 2010 Blackhawks team — Kevin Cheveldayoff and Joel Quenneville, now the Florida Panthers coach and the Winnipeg Jets general manager — were named in the report as well, the AP reported.
The Panthers declined to comment, citing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s plans to meet with Quenneville. Cheveldayoff said he already shared everything he knows with Jenner & Block for its report.
Jenner & Block was brought in by the Blackhawks for an independent review in response to two lawsuits filed against the franchise: one by a player identified as John Doe alleging sexual assault by then-assistant coach Brad Aldrich in 2010, and another filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.
Team CEO Danny Wirtz said the 107-page report is “disturbing and difficult to read.” Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the investigation, said the firm found no evidence that Wirtz or his father, Rocky, who owns the team, were aware of the allegations before the former player’s lawsuit was brought to their attention ahead of its filing.
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“It is clear that in 2010 the executives of this organization put team performance above all else,” Danny Wirtz said. “John Doe deserved better from the Blackhawks.”
In a statement released through his attorney, Susan Loggans, John Doe said he was “grateful for the accountability” shown by the Blackhawks.
“Although nothing can truly change the detriment to my life over the past decade because of the actions of one man inside the Blackhawks organization, I am very grateful to have the truth be recognized, and I look forward to continuing the long journey to recovery,” John Doe said, as reported by the AP.
Danny Wirtz told the AP that he has instructed the organization’s lawyers to try to “reach a fair resolution consistent with the totality of the circumstances.” But Loggans said there hadn’t been any settlement talks.
Bowman, the son of Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, said he was stepping aside because he didn’t want to be a distraction. He also resigned his position as general manager of the U.S men’s hockey team at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“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,” he said in a statement released by the Blackhawks, the AP reported. “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.”