Blackhawks, Bowman at Heart of Coaching Controversy

Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) /

Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks have major roles in the latest coaching abuse controversy.

It’s odd to see how little blame Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks have received for their hand in the recent controversy and subsequent social movement across the hockey landscape, especially considering how heavily involved they really are.

Much of the outcry, attention, and blame went the way of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Carolina Hurricanes. Before we get too deep into this, if you’re not sure what I’m referring to with said controversy, or haven’t caught the latest nugget that’s been leaked, check this out before moving forward with this article.

Okay, here’s my stance on Chicago’s end of things:

Bill Peters, the seemingly most guilty party in this mess, was hired as the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs on August 1, 2008. According to the official website of the Chicago Blackhawks, at the time Peters was hired, Bowman was serving as the Assistant General Manager.

Bowman’s former role included the following: “attended to the day-to-day administration of the hockey operations department, including all CBA-related matters, such as contract negotiations, free agency, salary arbitration and player movement and assignment.”

Stan Bowman also tracked the progress of Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects by working closely with the staff of the club’s minor-league affiliate in Rockford, while assisting with player evaluation, prospect development and professional and amateur scouting.

Clearly, as Bowman served as Assistant General Manager, he must have worked very closely with Peters. Yet, Bowman claims no responsibility for Peters’ alleged actions when the incident occurred during the 2009-10 (with Bowman serving as General Manager then).

More recently, Bowman hired Marc Crawford as an assistant coach on Jeremy Colliton’s staff ahead of the 2019-20 season. Crawford’s reputation for being physically abusive was well known even before this recent spotlight on abuse and mistreatment of players by coaches.

Patrick O’Sullivan and Brent Sopel have been outspoken about Crawford’s treatment of players well before he was hired by Bowman, which leads to only two possible conclusions.

Either Bowman didn’t do his due diligence when hiring Crawford — which I find hard to believe — or he knew about the allegations of abuse and didn’t mind it.

Even before Bowman was at the helm in Chicago, the Chicago Blackhawks had their issues with allegedly psychotic coaches. Mike Keenan’s mind games and antics are well documented and allegations against Darryl Sutter are just beginning to surface.

Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks are at the heart of the problem in this coaching nightmare and are taking no responsibility for it. Bowman has shown that he has no issues with players being abused and the so called investigation into Crawford is just him covering his own tracks.

Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization didn’t care about these allegations against Marc Crawford until national attention was put on the situation and he should be held responsible for it. It will be interesting to see what subsequent actions are taken from here on out, if any.