ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Heads are rolling in the Blackhawks’ organization following the results of an independent investigation by the team into an alleged sexual assault by a former Blackhawks’ assistant coach in 2010.
Blackhawks’ CEO Danny Wirtz announced Tuesday afternoon in a public briefing with reporters on Zoom that General Manager Stan Bowman has stepped down from his position, and all other management from 2010 who have remained with the organization will also be replaced. That would include Al MacIsaac who has been the Blackhawks’ Senior Vice-President of hockey operations for the past 21 seasons.
The investigation was conducted by the Jenner & Block law firm. It was launched in August of 2021 after two lawsuits were filed against the Blackhawks earlier this year. One was by a former unidentified Blackhawks’ player from 2020 named “John Doe” in the lawsuit. He claimed he was sexually assaulted by former Blackhawks’ video coach Brad Aldrich.
Lead investigator Reid Schar revealed results of the investigation in the public briefing Tuesday.
He stated that during the investigation 139 witnesses were interviewed including 21 current and former players from both the Blackhawks and the Rockford IceHogs including five of the nine Black aces, players who were promoted from the IceHogs in 2010 to join the Blackhawks for the playoffs.
Schar stated that Blackhawks management was informed of the allegations of sexual assult. Five members met to discuss it on May 23 of 2010. Members of that meeting included Bowman, McIsaac, former Blackhawks’ President John McDonough, and former head coach Joel Quenneville. Schar said the investation showed that the Blackhawks took no action following that meeting until June 14 after the Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup. Instead the Blackhawks’ wanted the focus to be on the team’s championship drive. McDonough then reported the complaint of sexual assault to human resources. No further action was taken.
The investigation also showed that Aldrich was allowed to continue with the team and join in team celebrations following the Stanley Cup Championship, celebrations in which the former player “John Doe” attended.
Aldrich was eventually given the option to resign with no investigation which he did.
The investigation shows that the Blackhawks violated their own policy on sexual harassement that was in place in 2010. It also showed that the Blackhawks owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz had no knowledge of the allegations of sexual assult until the lawsuits were filed against the Blackhawks this year.
Danny Wirtz told reporters Tueday that “John Doe deserved better from the Blackhawks,” and that the Blackhawks are “Committed to doing the right thing.” He also said that the Blackhawks are now a different organization than they were in 2010 with stricter policies in place against sexual harassement and that incidences of sexual harassment “Will not be tolerated today.”
Kyle Davidson has been named to replace Stan Bowman for the time being. Davidson has been with the Blackhawks for 11 years, first as an Assistant General Manager of Hockey Operations and most recently as Bowman’s top assistant helping with the day-to-day operations of the team.