Blackhawks president resigns following report of how team handled sexual assault allegation
Chicago Blackhawks general manager and president of hockey operations Stan Bowman resigned on Tuesday following a report detailing how the team handled sexual assault allegations.
In an emailed statement from the team, Bowman announced that he has decided to “step aside.”
“The team needs to focus on its future, and my continued participation would be a distraction. I think too much of this organization to let that happen,” Bowman said.
The report, which was released by law firm Jenner & Block LLP on Tuesday, detailed how the team handled an allegation from a former Blackhawks player who alleged he had been assaulted by former video coach Bradley Aldrich.
The player, referred to as “John Doe,” sued the team in May, alleging that Aldrich used to masturbate and watch pornography in front of Doe during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.
According to the report, both men said they had a “sexual encounter” on either May 8 or 9, 2010. However, Doe says the encounter was not consensual, while Aldrich stated that it was.
Al McIsaac, the team’s senior director of hockey administration, wasn’t told until May 23, the day the team won the Western Conference finals, that something happened to Doe.
After the finals victory, Bowman and McIsaac met with other team executives to discuss what happened to Doe. However, no action was taken until June 14, days after the team won the Stanley Cup, when human resources had finally been contacted.
On June 16, Aldrich was given the option to undergo an investigation or resign. He chose to resign. No investigation was conducted after that.
In his statement, Bowman said he was in his first year as general manager when the incident occurred. He maintained that when he was made aware of “potential inappropriate behavior,” he promptly reported it.
“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,” Bowman said.
The National Hockey League separately announced that it would fine the team $2 million for “inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” to the allegations against Aldrich. The league and the team will dedicate half of the fine to local organizations that provide support for survivors of abuse.