Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman resigns following investigation into sexual assault allegations in 2010

Chicago Blackhawks Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman, listens to the media during a...
Chicago Blackhawks Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman, listens to the media during a news conference at the United Center in Chicago, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. The Blackhawks recently agreed to eight-year contract extensions with Toews and Kane. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)(Nam Y. Huh | AP)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 1:56 PM CDT
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CHICAGO, Ill. (WBBM) - Chicago Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman has “stepped aside,” after an independent investigation determined he and other team executives failed to promptly investigate a former player’s claims he was sexually assaulted by former video coach in 2010.

“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,” team CEO Danny Wirtz announced Tuesday afternoon.

Also out over the team’s handling of the scandal is senior vice president Al MacIsaac.

A former Blackhawks player, identified only as “John Doe” has sued the team for negligence, accusing former video coach Brad Aldrich of sexually assaulting him during the team’s Stanley Cup season in 2010, and the team failed to do anything after he reported the assault.

Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who conducted an independent investigation of the team’s handling of that former player’s claims after he sued the Blackhawks in May, said their probe determined that both the former player and Aldrich agreed they had a sexual encounter in May of 2010, but while the player insisted it was entirely non-consensual, Aldrich maintains it was entirely consensual.

Schar said Bowman and other senior executives failed to promptly conduct a thorough investigation after the player told the team’s skating coach of the alleged assault.

“The failure to properly and thoroughly investigate the matter, and the decision to take no action from May 23 to June 14 (2010 had consequences,” Schar said.

According to Schar, during that time, not only was Aldrich allowed to continue to work and travel with the team but was allowed to participate in Stanley Cup championship celebrations in the presence of his accuser, and also made an unwanted sexual advance toward a 22-year-old Blackhawks intern.

Wirtz said, in addition to Bowman’s departure, all other team executives involved in the 2010 response to the former player’s allegations will no longer be with the team going forward.

“I believe that if this had happened in 2021 with Stan at the helm, the Stan that I know, and we know would have acted differently and been a louder voice in that room,” Wirtz said. “It is clear that in 2010, the executives of this organization put team performance above all else. John Doe deserves better from the Blackhawks.”

While Schar said Blackhawks executives failed to follow the team’s own sexual harassment policies after the former player accused Aldrich of sexual assault, he said his team at the law firm Jenner & Block found no evidence team owners, including chairman Rocky Wirtz and his son, team CEO Danny Wirtz, were aware of those events at any time before the former player sued the team five months ago.

Danny Wirtz also said, while he believes the team has a strong defense against the former player’s negligence lawsuit, he has instructed the Blackhawks’ lawyers to seek a “fair resolution consistent with the totality of the circumstances.”

“The Blackhawks are a very different organization than we were in 2010, and I’m not talking about wins and losses. I am confident that this would not be tolerated in our organization today. We deeply regret the harm caused to John Doe and the other individuals who are affected, and our failures to promptly address these allegations as we became aware of them,” Wirtz said.

Kyle Davidson will take over as the team’s interim general manager while the Blackhawks begin a search for a permanent successor. The team is mired in an 0-5-1 start to the season, that has seen them set a league record for futility, with the longest stretch of game time without a lead to start a season in NHL history.

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