Blackhawks Investigation: Potential Ripple Effects

Blackhawks Investigation: Potential Ripple Effects

by October 27, 2021 0 comments

After months of hearing about the story and waiting for more, we finally have details of the sexual assault investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks from 2010. Law firm Jenner & Block has released their findings of the incident between an unnamed former Blackhawks player and former video coach Brad Aldrich, plus the ensuing efforts by the team to control the situation. That report is available here:

Click to access Report%20to%20the%20Chicago%20Blackhawks%20Hockey%20Team%20-%20October%202021.pdf

On every side of things, this is an ugly situation. It’s a triggering story for many, which is understandable. We are also likely not at the end of the resolutions. The details of this report could very well cost many people their jobs, and even some people who were not even involved with the case, by the form of the domino effect.

A Long-Awaited Departure

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is out after over a decade of holding the job title. This situation is what caused Bowman’s resignation, although his actual job performance has been questionable in recent years. The new interim general manager will be Kyle Davidson, formerly the assistant to Bowman. USA Hockey has also had to shift its plans, as Bowman resigned from his duty to be the general manager of the 2022 U.S Olympic Team.

One of the players that Bowman has previously committed to making Team USA in 2022 was Seth Jones, who has struggled mightily for the Blackhawks in the early goings of this season. Commissioner Gary Bettman said that Bowman, former Executive Vice President Jay Blunk, and former Senior Director of Hockey Administration Al MacIsaac would have to be cleared by him to return to work in the NHL. Blunk had left the organization in September, while MacIsaac just did.

Other Teams May Face Consequences

Just like in the offseason following the 2019 MLB season, the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets dismissed Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, respectively, for their involvement in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal. Other non-related teams are now under the spotlight. The legendary Joel Quenneville, the coach of the Blackhawks at the time, is now with the Florida Panthers. Former assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is now the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets. Both were in a meeting with other executives and mental skills coach Jim Gary during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, after Gary had been made aware of the allegations.

Bettman said that he will meet with both Quenneville and Cheveldayoff. The former had previously denied knowing about the allegations. The Montreal Canadiens will not have to worry about their situation, it seems. Their GM, Marc Bergevin, was the director of player personnel in 2010, before later being promoted into Cheveldayoff’s spot. Bergevin was not mentioned at all in the report.

Diminishing Reputations

The Stanley Cup-winning 2010 Blackhawks are now a tainted team. Not for the legitimacy of their title, but for what happened behind the scenes. It also appears that other players were later aware of the incident with Aldrich. An unnamed player, different from the one engaged with Aldrich, was called homophobic slurs by a former Blackhawk and was thought to be more involved. The homophobia and ignorance of some Blackhawks players could eventually be made public, which would hurt some current players. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would be the head of that club, seeing as they were the team’s leaders and are still with Chicago today.

The Immediate Future of Jeremy Colliton

So, admittedly, this one is a bit of a stretch. But Bowman had hired Blackhawks head coach Colliton, who has seen the current team get off to a terrible start, currently winless without holding a lead. Colliton is not just on the hot seat, he has third-degree burns from it. If Bowman had not planned to dismiss Colliton, that could change now. Sure, the interim Davidson probably would not be the one to do it. But whoever becomes the next permanent general manager of Chicago could. This is not just about Colliton. The replacement of Bowman and MacIsaac with two others could, or even should, lead to big fundamental shifts within the Blackhawks’ organization.


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