Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz provided an update on their search for a full-time general manager on Wednesday. Here's the full statement before we break down the notable items:
"As we recently reached the halfway point of the 2021-22 season, I am excited to provide an update on our search for the next General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Over the last six weeks, our leadership has been taking part in a discovery and research process that explored all functions and structure of our Hockey Operations department. This top to bottom exercise revealed an incredible amount of in-house talent while also highlighting areas for growth and opportunities to become more competitive. We plan to create a next generation Hockey Operations department with a path to sustained success for the Chicago Blackhawks. Our next step is to find the right leader, and we will begin to reach out to potential candidates this week to interview for the General Manager role. That position will be the highest-ranking executive in Hockey Operations and will report directly to me. We anticipate making a final decision in advance of the National Hockey League Trade Deadline.
We are looking to hire the best strategic mind who can build and develop a Hockey Operations leadership team that will be best in class across professional sports. This new leader will create a team environment that brings the best experts together to guide decision-making on the future of the Blackhawks while ensuring they share in the overall organizational goals of consistently competing at a championship level. And without question, he or she must be someone who exhibits our organizational values.
Current Interim General Manager Kyle Davidson is a candidate and will interview for the General Manager role. He remains in his position of Interim General Manager and will continue to have full autonomy of hockey decisions in the meantime.
I will lead the interview process alongside President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner, with the support and counsel of an advisory group who will offer perspective on the role and those being interviewed. That advisory committee will be comprised of leaders across the sports industry as well as our search partners and will be announced in the coming days.
We will be as transparent as possible throughout this process; however, since we will be interviewing candidates both inside and outside of hockey, we will need to respect the confidentiality of the process and those candidates. In addition, we are planning on hosting a townhall-style meeting next week with our fans, partners, staff and media to further explain the greater vision of the Chicago Blackhawks. Details on that are to follow.
We greatly look forward to bringing in the leader of our club’s team operations who is going to help write the next chapter of championship hockey for this franchise."
Now, onto the important bullet points and thoughts:
- The Blackhawks will not be hiring a President of Hockey Operations department, at least for now. The GM will be the "highest-ranking executive" and will report directly to Danny Wirtz. It's noteworthy because Stan Bowman previously held both titles.
- Kyle Davidson is going to have a legitimate chance at the full-time gig, and deservedly so. The organization thinks highly of him and it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up with the job.
- Interesting that the Blackhawks will be interviewing candidates both "inside and outside" of hockey. They recently hired Mike Forde of Sportsology to assist with the internal evaluation process, and he has a diverse background across multiple sports. Forde played a big role over the last six weeks as the organization "explored all functions and structure" of the hockey operations department.
- The NHL trade deadline is on March 21. Wirtz said he expects a final decision will come before then. Until then, Davidson has "full autonomy" to make hockey decisions.
- Danny Wirtz and Jaime Faulkner — President of Business Operations — will spearhead the interview process, which will also include an advisory committee. An announcement on that will be revealed "in the coming days."
- And finally, the Blackhawks are planning to host a townhall-style meeting next week with fans, partners, staff and media. Stay tuned.
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