Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz provides update on GM search

On Wednesday, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz provided an update on their search for a full-time general manager. Here’s the full statement before breaking down the notable items:

“As we recently reached the halfway point of the 2021-22 season, I am pleased to provide an update on our search for the next Chicago Blackhawks general manager.

Over the past six weeks, our leaders have participated in a discovery and research process that has explored all of the functions and structure of our hockey operations department. This top-down exercise revealed an incredible amount of internal talent while highlighting areas for growth and opportunities to become more competitive. We plan to create a next-generation hockey operations department with a path to lasting success for the Chicago Blackhawks. Our next step is to find the right leader, and we’ll start contacting potential candidates this week for an interview for the CEO position. This position will be the most senior officer of hockey operations and will report directly to me. We expect to make a final decision before the National Hockey League trade deadline.

We seek to hire the best strategic mind who can build and develop a hockey operations management team that will be best in class in professional sports. This new leader will create a team environment that brings together top experts to guide decision-making on the future of the Blackhawks while ensuring they share the overall organizational goals of consistent competition at the championship level. And without a doubt, he or she must be someone who displays our organizational values.

The current interim general manager, Kyle Davidson, is a candidate and will interview for the position of general manager. He remains in his position as interim general manager and will continue to have full autonomy in hockey decisions in the meantime.

I will lead the interview process alongside President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner, with support and guidance from an advisory group that will provide perspective on the role and interviewees. This advisory board will be made up of leaders from the sports industry as well as our research 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 inside and outside of hockey, we will need to respect the confidentiality of the process and of those candidates. Additionally, we plan to host a town hall-style meeting next week with our fans, partners, staff and media to further explain the larger vision of the Chicago Blackhawks. Details on this will follow.

We look forward to bringing in our club’s team operations manager who will help write the next chapter of the hockey championship for this franchise. »

Now on to the important points and thoughts:

  • The Blackhawks won’t be hiring a president of hockey operations, at least for now. The Managing Director will be the “Senior Executive” and will report directly to Danny Wirtz. This is notable because Stan Bowman previously held both titles.
  • Kyle Davidson is going to get a legit shot at the full-time gig, and rightfully so. The organization thinks highly of him and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up with the job.
  • It’s interesting that the Blackhawks are interviewing candidates “inside and outside” of hockey. They recently hired Mike Forde from Sportsology to help with the internal evaluation process, and he has a diverse background in multiple sports. Forde has played an important role over the past six weeks as the organization “explored all functions and structure” of the hockey operations department.
  • The NHL trade deadline is March 21. Wirtz said he expects a final decision to be made before then. Until then, Davidson has “full autonomy” to make hockey decisions.
  • Danny Wirtz and Jaime Faulkner, President of Business Operations, will lead the interview process, which will also include an advisory committee. An announcement about this will be revealed “in the coming days”.
  • And finally, the Blackhawks plan to hold a town hall-style meeting next week with fans, partners, staff and media. Stay tuned.

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