Chicago Blackhawks Report Has Olympic Ramifications


The Chicago Blackhawks investigation report into sexual assault allegation from 2010 was released, and while it mainly concerns the organization, the Olympic team is also affected. Investigators released their findings on how the Blackhawks handled sexual assault allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup run. In a lawsuit, Kyle Beach alleged that Aldrich sexually assaulted him and another player during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoff run. The NHL fined the team $2 million for the "organization's inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response in the handling of matters related to former video coach Brad Aldrich's employment with the Club and ultimate departure in 2010." [1]

Following the report, president of hockey operations Stan Bowman resigned from his position. In a statement following his resignation he said, "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, 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.” [2] This leaves the Blackhawks with an empty position for their president of hockey operations.

Additionally, team USA has lost its general manager (GM) for the men's 2022 Olympic Hockey team. In March of 2021, USA Hockey announced that Bowman would be the GM for the men's ice hockey team that would compete in Beijing 2022. Bowman was selected for his success in hockey with Chicago. While with the Blackhawks he has seen the team win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. [3] However, Bowman is no stranger to having a say in the U.S. teams players and staff. He is the son of renowned NHL coach Scotty Bowman and has served as a member of an advisory group for USA Hockey since 2012. He has helped select players and staff for U.S. men’s national teams.[4] Following his resignation as GM from the Olympic team, in a press conference Bowman said, “In light of what’s happened today, I think it’s in the best interests of USA Hockey for me to step aside, I’m grateful to have been selected and wish our team the very best in Beijing.”[5]

The possible replacement for Bowman would be Bill Guerin. Guerin is the current GM of the Minnesota Wild and was named the assistant GM of the U.S. team. However, Guerin is part of an open investigation for an alleged mishandling of an unrelated sexual assault when he was the assistant GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins.[6] At this time, no GM has been officially named by the men's ice hockey team. There also has been no work on whether Guerin will continue to be the assistant GM of the team. The current rooster for the U.S. team consists of Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and defenseman Seth Jones, along with Toronto center Auston Matthews. The final roster for the 2022 team will be announced in January. The U.S. men's ice hockey team has not won a gold at the Olympics since the 1980 Miracle on Ice.

[1] Kaplan, Emily. “Chicago Blackhawks Report out; President Stan Bowman Resigns.” ESPN, https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/32479861/chicago-blackhawks-report-president-stan-bowman-resigns. [2] Id. [3] Gardner, Steve. Stan Bowman Resigns as US Olympic Men's Hockey GM in Wake of Blackhawks Sexual Assault Investigation, 26 Oct. 2021, https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/more-sports/stan-bowman-resigns-as-us-olympic-men-s-hockey-gm-in-wake-of-blackhawks-sexual-assault-investigation/ar-AAPZd9F?ocid=uxbndlbing. [4] Id. [5] Id. [6] Id.