Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks president for hockey operations, has resigned following the release of findings by investigators on how the team dealt with sexual assault allegations against Brad Aldrich, former video coach, during the 2010 Stanley Cup run.
Al MacIsaac, the senior director of hockey administration, has also been fired. This means that there are no Blackhawks executives still involved in the 2010 team.
The league also stated that it would fine the team $2 million for "inadequate internal procedures" and "insufficient and untimely responses in handling matters related to Brad Aldrich, former video coach at the Club, and his departure in 2010.
Local organizations supporting survivors of sexual abuse and other forms will receive half of the fine.
A lawsuit was filed by John Doe, an unidentified ex-Blackhawks player, in May 2021 alleging that Aldrich sexually assaulted him during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Blackhawks hired Jenner & Block to conduct a thorough investigation in June. Reid Schar, an ex-assistant U.S. Attorney, led the investigation and handed the results to the Blackhawks on Monday.
On Tuesday, the findings were made public. The team issued a statement to the fans after a news conference.
It stated, in part, that "it is evident the organization and its executives were not up to our standards or values in dealing with these disturbing incidents." "We deeply regret the damage done to John Doe, and other affected individuals, and the inability to respond quickly. We as an organization extend our deepest apologies for the suffering of these individuals. We can and will do better.
Schar stated Tuesday that investigators interviewed 139 persons, including John Doe and Aldrich. Both men were represented by their lawyers. Schar confirmed that John Doe was a Black Ace, a minor league player who was called up to the NHL during playoffs.
According to the findings of the investigation, John Doe and Aldrich had a sexual encounter on May 8 or 9. Investigators were able to confirm that both men had an encounter. Aldrich claimed it was consensual while John Doe stated it wasn't consensual.
Schar claims that MacIsaac was informed by Schar days later of a possible sexual encounter between coach and player and, separately, that Aldrich may have sent an explicit message to another player.
Schar stated that John McDonough and MacIsaac Bowman, Jay Blunks, Jay Blunks, Jay Blunks, Kevin Cheveldayoffs, Joel Quenneville, and Jay Blunk met on May 23 to discuss John Doe's fate.
Schar stated that the "accounts" of the meeting varied significantly, but Aldrich was there through the Stanley Cup celebrations. Aldrich was presented with a Stanley Cup ring, and the opportunity to spend a day with Stanley Cup.
According to the investigation, Aldrich was given the option of an investigation or resignation by the Blackhawks' director for human resources on June 16. Aldrich resigned and no investigation was done.
After being made aware of the original allegations, the current investigation found that Aldrich had made a sexual advances to a Blackhawks intern aged 22.
Rocky Wirtz, Blackhawks' owner, stated Tuesday that he and his son Danny, the team's chief executive officer, did not learn about the allegations until lawsuits were filed.
Danny Wirtz stated, "The report is both troubling and difficult to understand." It speaks for itself.
John Doe, a Chicago Sun Times court filing shows that he suffered from anxiety, depression, severe sleep problems and anger issues, as well as marital and marital problems due to the assault.
In June, a Blackhawks player who won the 2010 Stanley Cup told ESPN that he felt that the NHL was trying to "discredit the situation."
Although there were rumors that Aldrich had tried to make contact with players, the player said to ESPN that there was no communication. Aldrich's departure was not announced by the Blackhawks to their players.
The player stated, "It's frightening to think that people could turn their heads and allow this to happen."
The same player texted ESPN after the news conference Tuesday: "I'm glad justice was served in some manner." It took .... so long and caused so much pain but it is the right outcome.
Bowman issued a statement saying that he didn't want to be a distraction while the team focused on the future. Bowman explained his role in the 2010 events.
He said that he was aware of inappropriate behavior by a former video coach eleven years ago while I was serving as general manager. I reported the matter immediately to the CEO and then-President, who agreed to handle the matter. This year, I discovered that the inappropriate behavior was a result of a serious allegation regarding sexual assault. I trusted my superior to take the appropriate actions. Now that I look back, I regret thinking he didn't handle the matter quickly.
"I'm confident that the Wirtz family and this organization will continue to do all they can to win championships with integrity and the goal to do the right thing."
Aldrich, who had left the Blackhawks in 2012, was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sex conduct in a high school student's case in Michigan. Aldrich was sentenced to nine months imprisonment and five years probation in 2014. He will be released in 2019. He is currently on the Michigan's registry for sex offenders.
Bowman is the son of Scotty Bowman (hockey Hall of Famer) and is widely credited as being the architect of Chicago’s three Stanley Cup titles of 2010, 2013, and 2015. Since 2001, he has held various positions with the team and was promoted to general manager in 2009. In 2020, he was elevated to the position of president of hockey operations while still maintaining his duties as general manager.
According to the Blackhawks, Kyle Davidson will be taking over as interim general manger. He was previously an assistant general manager.