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Stan Bowman, Blackhawks president, resigns amid release of investigative report

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Former Chicago Blackhawks president Stan Bowman resigned, amid the release of investigative findings of how the team handled sexual assault allegations against a former coach in 2010, CEO Danny Wirtz announced.

Wirtz told reporters that Bowman "stepped aside" Tuesday at a news conference, alongside team owner Rocky Wirtz. Former Blackhawks senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac also resigned Tuesday.

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Bowman joined the Blackhawks in 2001 as an assistant to the general manager. He became general manager in 2010 and was promoted to president in 2020.

Danny Wirz called the report "disturbing and difficult to read."

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"Rocky and I appreciate Stan's dedication to the Blackhawks and his many years of work for the team," Wirtz said.

"However, 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."

The NHL announced it fined the franchise $2 million for its "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."

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An unidentified Blackhawks player, listed as "John Doe," filed a lawsuit in May. He alleged that Aldrich sexually assaulted him and another player during the Blackhawks' 2010 run to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Blackhawks hired independent law firm Jenner & Block in June to investigate the allegations. On Monday, the firm presented the Blackhawks with the results of the investigation. On Tuesday, the findings were made public through a team news release.

"The report details very troubling events that occurred in 2010 and outlines the Blackhawks' knowledge and treatment of those events at that time," the Blackhawks said in the release.

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"It is clear the organization and its executives at that time did not live up to our own standards or values in handling these disturbing incidents. We deeply regret the harm caused to 'John Doe' and the other individuals who were affected and the failure to promptly respond.

"As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must -- and will -- do better."

The unidentified player also released a statement.

"Although nothing can truly change the detriment to my life over the past decade because of the actions of one man inside the Blackhawks organization, I am very grateful to have the truth be recognized, and I look forward to continuing the long journey to recovery," John Doe said.

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Bowman also released a statement Tuesday, saying he didn't want to be a "distraction" for the team.

"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," Bowman said. "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.

"I am confident that this organization and the Wirtz family will continue to do what it takes to win championships, with integrity and with the goal of doing what is right."

Aldrich was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2013 in Michigan. He was sentenced to nine months in jail and five years of probation in 2014.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that the league is still "faced with determining" if its disciplinary measures are "appropriate for the Blackhawks' senior leaders at the time who were specifically referenced in the report.

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"As to four of those individuals [president/CEO John McDonough, executive vice president Jay Blunk, Bowman, MacIsaac], they are no longer employed by the Chicago Blackhawks and are no longer employed in the league," Bettman said.

"Should they wish to re-enter the League in some capacity in the future, I will require a meeting with me in advance of their accepting any NHL club-related position in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place."

Bowman also resigned as general manager of the United State's men's Olympic hockey team. The Blackhawks fired McDonough in April. Blunk resigned in September.

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